Before present day Ventimiglia was built there used to be a settlement called Albintimilium, located to the west of the city. Of this old city various ruins, including parts of the Roman theatre, the baths, the city walls and a necropolis can still be seen.
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Corso Genova 20 – Ventimiglia. Phone: +39 01027181 – 0184252320. Opening hours: Tuesday till Sunday from 09.00 till 14.00. Closed: Monday. Admission: Free.
The original name of the settlement that would morph into Ventimiglia was Albium Intemelium. This was the capital of the area occupied by a people called Intemelii. Originally the Intemelii used to live on the hills, but between 400 and 300 BC they moved to further down, to the mouth of the river Nervia.
In 89 BC the settlement became a Roman Municipium, which was however completely destroyed in the year 69 AD during battles between Emperor Otho and the rebel leader Vitellio.
In 13 BC the consular road Via Julia Augusta was constructed, which led to an increase in the city’s wealth and influence.
After the fall of the empire, the city was often invaded and plundered by Barbarian tribes. Toward the 7th century it was completely abandoned and present Ventimiglia was built on the hill above the mouth of the river Roia.
One of the main monuments of Albintililium is the Roman Theater, which was built between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century. The steps that can still be seen were probably just the bottom half on the building, its top part being completely missing. The entrance was on the west side and is the best kept part of the monument.
The ruins across from the entrance to the theater are those of the Terme (Baths). These used to be surrounded by gardens and villa’s decorated with mosaic floors. An Aqueduct led the water from near Camporosso to the baths.
Behind the theater several ruins of the city walls can be seen. One of the city gates, the Porta Praetoria (or Porta di Provenza) is still largely intact. It had three arches and two circular towers. The towers were not exactly aligned with the gate. Outside the gate the Via Julia Augusta started, which was constructed by Augustus in 13 BC, in order to create a quicker connection to Rome. The Via Julia Augusta led from Piacenza to Arles in the south of France. In reality it can be considered a prolongation of the Via Aurelia.
The Necropolis took up a large area outside the walls. Archeological finds in the various tombs have enabled historians to reconstruct information about the daily life and customs of the people of Albintimilium.