Carsulae is an archaeological site located around 4km north of the town San Gemini, Umbria. The town likely originated as a mansio or rest stop. It is possible the place was selected for the water, which is very high in calcium, and is now bottled under the brand San Gemini.
The city dates from 300 BCE to 400 CE. The via Flaminia was built c. 220-219 BCE as the main street of Carsulae, and attracted the settlement of Etruscans from the surrounding area as well as connected Rome to the Adriatic Sea. A severe earthquake led to the city being ruined and abandoned, never to be built over again .
There is a series of significant structures at Carsulae including twin temples, an amphitheater, a theatre, the Arch of San Damiano, tombs, and Roman baths. The first excavation was in 1783 by Count Sebastiano Grazini of Terni, followed by Umberto Ciotti from 1951-1972, and more recently by Professor Jane Whitehead from 2005 to present. One of the most important theories to come from the excavations is that the baths may have been used as a place of healing.
There is also a small museum for you to browse some of the interesting finds from excavations, as well as a cafe to relax and enjoy a nice drink and snack after your tour.
When to go: the best time to go and visit would be during Summer when the grass is beautiful and green and you can enjoy the scenic views from atop the mountain.
Where to stay: you can stay at the Albergo Duomo Hotel in San Gemini, a small picturesque hillside town not far from Carsulae. Prices starting from around $62AUD per night.
Get involved: if you are interested in joining one of the excavation sessions as a volunteer head to the San Gemini Preservation Studies website for more information.
Carsulae Archaeological Excavation 2012, Excavations of the Baths at Roman Carsulae, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, viewed 27th May 2012, <http://www.valdosta.edu/~jwhitehe/Carsulaeweb/Carsulae_home.htm>
Whitehead, J. 2010. ‘The Baths at Carsulae: Excavations and survey 2004-2008’, The Journal of Fasti Online, FOLDER 187, viewed 27th May 2012, <http://www.fastionline.org/docs/FOLDER-it-2010-187.pdf>