The ruins of the old town of the ancient Roman town of Trebula Suffenas extend into the park of the current Villa Manni, at the slopes of the hill on which stands Ciciliano, in the Hospitality area Santa Maria Maddalena, southwest of the Passo della Fortuna, on the right Via Empolana (km 13 from Tivoli).
The remarkable archaeological finds are due to the excavations carried out in 1948 by the Superintendence to Antiquities of Latium, under the direction of Domenico Faccenna, inside the Manni property, after which a small hole was paved with tufa and travertine slabs , A large and sophisticated antonine spa complex (150-130 BC), various domus dating from the 2nd century BC And the late era, overlooking the basement streets, statues, columns, vases, coins, grain mills and numerous inscriptions.
Initially, following what he had supposed in the early 1900s Rodolfo Lanciani, it was thought that this was the remains of a large Roman villa and this unfortunately justified the detachment of the beautiful mosaic about the myth of Elle and Frisso that paved the frigidarium of the spas and Which is currently in storage at the Sanctuary of Hercules Winner in Tivoli.
In fact, at the end of the nineteenth century, some German scholars, on the basis of a small number of inscriptions previously found at Ciciliano, mentioned magistrates and priests, had suggested the presence of an important center in that area, possibly identifying, correcting in this sense The transcription of a lost epigraph with the Trebula not far from Tivoli, a humid qua gelidas summittit valles, recalled by Marziale in its epigram and the Treblis depicted between Praeneste and Carseoli in the Tabula Peutingeriana, a medieval copy of an ancient Roman paper.
In 1956, the American scholar Lily Ross Taylor was recognized in an epigraph that had long been preserved in the Vatican Museums, his origins from the territory of Ciciliano and his reference to Trebula Suffenas. In 1966 Cairoli Giuliani provided a relief and a description of the remains of buildings and streets visible in the Manni property, not excluding that they could constitute a pagus.In 1956, the American scholar Lily Ross Taylor was recognized in an epigraph that had long been preserved in the Vatican Museums, his origins from the territory of Ciciliano and his reference to Trebula Suffenas. In 1966 Cairoli Giuliani provided a relief and a description of the remains of buildings and streets visible in the Manni property, not excluding that they could constitute a pagus.
However, Franco Sciarretta, from 1971, must have been the exact location of the ancient city, previously assumed at the top of the hill of Ciciliano, where there are several remains of polygonal walls and a Roman villa.
Trebula Suffenas therefore stood on the Pass of Fortuna, an important crossroads for the transhumance routes and connections with Tibur (Tivoli) and Praeneste (Palestrina) and then with Rome, acquiring important time as a strategic point in time.
To found Trebula, a popular place in the Italics because comparable to our “Casale”, were the Suffenates, a local Equi community, which controlled the entire territory east of Tivoli. Pliny the Elder, in fact, mentions the Trebulani here cognomatur Suffenates to distinguish them from those of other centers of the same name.
At the end of the 4th century AD The Romans, in the course of their struggles against the Equi for the conquest of the territory, occupied Trebula dei Suffenati who in 303 a. C., with the granting of the civitas sine suffrage, became part of the Roman state.
Once Romanized the city, elected to “town hall” (civitas optimi iure) at the beginning of the I century a. C., had important administrative functions on that large part of Equi territory which was left out of confiscation and not colonized (as it was done through the foundation of Alba Fucens and Carseoli) extending along the valleys of the Emigration and Youth (tributaries Aniene) and in the middle Aniene valley. Today there are 16 countries (Ciciliano, Castel Madama, Pisoniano, San Vito, Guadagnolo, Gerano, Cerreto, Canterano, Rocca Canterano, Rocca di Mezzo, Rocca Santo Stefano, Sambuci, Saracinesco, Anticoli Corrado, Marano Equo, Agosta).
Archaeological and epigraphic documentation indicates that Trebula was greatly enhanced by monuments in the early imperial age thanks also to the presence and support of the powerful family of the Plautii Silvani to whom the community devoted numerous honorary titles. More than one member of the gens Plauzia was a patron of the Town Hall which was named after the Aniensis tribe and was ruled by duovirs alongside aediles and quaestores.
Marco Plauzio Silvano was consul with Augusto in the 2nd c. And erected the famous family mausoleum at Ponte Lucano. The close friendship of his mother, the Etruscan Urgulania, with Livia, Augusto’s wife, and the marriage between her daughter Urgulanilla and the young future Emperor Claudio favored the rise of this genius and the development of Trebula Suffenas, Their home town.
It was of great importance to Trebula Suffenas, the College of the Augustustales, as evidenced by an important enrollment of 14 th. C., the year of Augusto’s death. Such an early adherence to imperial worship and the remarkable numerical consistency of its members, at least 60, since its inception, confirm the close ties between the eminent gens of the Plautii Silvani and the imperial family.
In the 2nd century AD Trebula had a paved spa with an interesting cycle of mosaics: the frigidarium, apsidated with stucco decorations (whose fragments are deposited at the National Museum of Rome), presents the representation of the myth of Elle and Frisso whereas the one found in an adjacent environment presents gym scenes (both are in store at the temple of Hercules Winner at Tivoli.) A third mosaic, still present on the spot of preservation, preserves the frame in the form of merloted walls, with doors and towers. Always in situ, in front of the frigidarium, on the back of a small tub, other fragments of mosaic with marine scenes were re-composed. It is very probable, for similar ornamental reasons and for the expertise of the executive technique, that the realization of the mosaics of Trebula were the same workers who worked in the baths of ancient Ostia.
The city had to enjoy a certain flourishing even in the Severian age (late II-early III sec.) As attested by imperial dedications and bases of statues in honor of local magistrates. Certainly, according to epigraphic documentation, it was still active in the third and fourth centuries and according to the coins discovered at least until the 6th century.