The city of Cosa is an ancient Roman colony. Its beauty has made it a timeless place.
Here past and present coexist harmoniously: history, culture, events and evocative landscapes.
A bit of history
The name of Cosa derives from Cusia or Cusi, an ancient Etruscan settlement that rose, however, further down, probably where Orbetello is today. The Roman colony of Cosa was founded in 273 BC It was built in a strategic position on the Ansedonia promontory overlooking the Tyrrhenian coast.
The city of Cosa was very important in the III and II century BC when the "Portus Cosanus" was built and the commercial traffic was increased. A natural channel, called "Spacco della Regina" (Queen's split), prevented the silting of the seabed by the movement of the tides. Later the canal became unusable and an artificial canal called "la Tagliata" was dug in its place.
An aqueduct conveyed fresh water from a spring to the port at the foot of the promontory, feeding the fish farms built in a large fish pond.
The remains of the port and the piers are partially submerged in the sea.
Visit to the archaeological site
Entrate nell'area archeologica attraverso la porta Fiorentina e quindi percorrete il sentiero sterrato, fra gli ulivi, che originariamente attraversava i quartieri abitativi, dal terreno affiorano i resti delle cisterne che si trovavano sotto le case.
Seguendo il sentiero arriverete alla casa di Quintus Fluvius, sopra le cui fondamenta è stato costruito il museo. Continuando a salire troverete la “Casa dello Scheletro” che prende questo nome dalla scheletro che fu trovato nella cisterna.
Risalendo il colle giungerete al Foro che era una piazza lunga novanta metri e larga trenta. Imboccando la “via sacra” arriverete sul punto più alto della città sede dell'acropoli.
Getting to the city of Cosa is very simple. Follow the road that climbs the hill of Ansedonia, whether you come from Feniglia or from the Tagliata, then just follow the numerous signs indicating the archaeological area. At the entrance there is a clearing where to leave the car.
The ancient Roman city today remains imposing ruins, the remains of buildings and roads, only partially brought to light, most of the city is yet to be discovered.
Enter the archaeological area through the Fiorentina gate and then follow the dirt path, among the olive trees, which originally crossed the residential quarters, the remains of the cisterns that were under the houses emerge from the ground.
Following the path you will come to the house of Quintus Fluvius, above whose foundation the museum was built. As you continue to climb, you will find the "House of the Skeleton" which takes its name from the skeleton that was found in the cistern.
Going up the hill you will reach the Forum which was a square ninety meters long and thirty wide. Taking the "via sacra" (sacred way) you will arrive at the highest point of the city seat of the acropolis.
From this place the view is amazing, especially at sunset.
The Skeleton House
Among the houses that came to light during the archaeological excavations in the ancient Roman city, the House of the Skeleton was the home of a wealthy person, it can be guessed from the extensive garden, the presence of a second floor and the decorations of the mosaic floor and frescoed walls.
The skeleton, was found inside the cistern 4 m deep, gave the house its name.
The skeleton, almost complete, is of an adult male individual aged between 30 and 35 years. Physically the individual appears to be low and robust at 1.61 m in height. From the skull, long and thin, with broad face, one would say that it comes from the eastern Mediterranean. The physical characteristics do not suggest a modern or contemporary individual. It is possible that the skeleton belongs to the turbulent period linked to the phases of destruction of the city starting from 70 BC About.
Cosa National Archaeological Museum
Inside the archaeological area of Cosa, above the perimeter structures of the house of Quintus Fluvius from the Roman period, the Cosa National Museum was built in 1981, the result of a collaboration between the Italian State and the American Academy in Rome, which has elected the ancient Latin colony of Cosa as a privileged place for its research activities. At first the museum had a single room dedicated to the most significant finds, mainly from the port, the Forum and private homes.
Days and opening hours:
October-March (standard time): Monday-Saturday and 1st Sunday of the month 8.15-16.30; April-October (summer time) Monday-Sunday 10.15am-6.30pm; Booking: None
Full price € 2 - reduced € 1
the entrance to the archaeological area is free (and it's wonderful)
Free admission on the first Sunday of the month for the #DomenicalMuseo initiative: free museums for all.
Events at the City of Cosa
The museum is the promoter of many initiatives aimed at enhancing and discovering one of the most beautiful and even less known archaeological areas of the Maremma and of the entire Mediterranean.
I will only mention a couple of last year:
- Thursday 9 August 2018 from 17.30 presentation of the archaeological area entitled "Cosa at sunset" in collaboration with the Ansedonia Association.
At the end of the visit around 7.30 pm at the acropolis an aperitif was organized with an exciting view of the sunset. The guided tour and the aperitif were free, while it was possible to visit the National Archaeological Museum until 22.00 for 2 euros per person.
- From 31 October to 4 November 2018 the National Archaeological Museum and Ancient City of Cosa presented Halloween at the "La casa dello scheletro" museum, thematic guided tours at 10.00 and 16.30.
For the occasion, the skeleton that gave the name to the domus was exceptionally exposed.
For information on upcoming events: www.museidimaremma.it
Theater in Cosa: "The charm of the ruins"
Moreover, the city of Cosa every summer becomes a "theater" in the true sense of the word.
A theater company, stages open-air shows, sometimes "itinerant": as the stage the ancient ruins. (not only of Cosa but also of other archaeological sites of the Maremma)
Very touching and evocative performances.
Many classics are revisited in a modern key. Not to be missed!
Here is the link to consult the program of the new review of the "Fascino delle Rovine" (Charm of the Ruins): www.teatrostudio.it