Roman Villa of Santa Filitica

Santa filitica The beginning of the archaeological investigations dating back to 1980. From 1982 to 1989 have followed short excavations annually. The complex consists of Roman Empire and spa, whose rooms are all richly decorated with polychrome mosaics are exhibited at the Archaeological Exhibition in permanent Baronial Palace of Sip Biddas now a museum. The archaeological area of ​​Santa Filitica after a short period of decay, due to the absence of its inhabitants, was affected by a new settlement formed by dry brick houses, built around the Roman villa, used as a place of burial . The search resumed in 1997 …

How to get
Take the SS 200 (Sassari-CastelSardo) until Sip. From here you take the SP 130 towards the sea.
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The town of Santa Filitica is in the municipality of Sip, a few meters from the sea, on the coast line between the rivers Silis and Pedras de Fogu. The name of the area known as Santa Filitica, refers to the holy martyrs African Felicity and Perpetua, whose cult is not attested in Sardinia.

The complex consists of rooms of a Roman imperial villa, which would represent the first phase of the plant, from a cruciform building reused as a place of Christian worship and two separate cottages inhabited by the Vandals and the Byzantine age. In the Roman villa archaeological excavations have, for now, highlighted a cistern and some environments, including a large rectangular room with a mosaic floor decorated (dated between the third and fourth centuries AD), connected to smaller rooms and a hexagonal tank, probably belonged to a thermal plant. The discovery of parts of lamps and pottery, which they bear Christian symbols such as crosses and Crismon (V-VII century), and the transformation of some rooms of the villa in a place of worship bear witness to the growth of Christianity. In fact, for E compartment mosaic is a small building in a cruciform plan with an apse, facing S and N input, stored for a good part of the high until the early courses of the vault of the apse. The structure was part of the Roman villa of the bath, given the presence of a tank with “suspensurae” wall cavities and for the circulation of hot air in the arm E. It is, however, still unclear whether the apse and the arm N were part of the original or were added later … But it is important to note that: for the operation of the baths had been prepared by a complex hydraulic system that guaranteed supply of circulation ‘water and drain after use! It is likely that, when the building ceased to function as a thermal plant, has been transformed into a place of Christian worship in the service of the inhabitants of the small settlement. The abandonment of the building can be dated between the late sixth and early seventh century, when the decking area was raised by alluvial sands. On this level you set a new settlement, consisting of dry masonry houses, terraced on four sides around the building cruciform, which at this stage is used as a burial place. The last period of life of the Byzantine village is relevant in a bubble of lead Pope Nicholas I (858-867), found in the arm N cruciform building, in a layer from the last stage of the burial place. The settlement remained active until the full Byzantine period, as evidenced by the findings, which refer to relations with Africa, the Orient and northern Italy. They are also documented craft activities related to the needs of the community, such as weaving, pottery production and common use of bone artefacts.

Access to the site is free. Upon booking you can take advantage of the guided tour by bus to the three archaeological sites Geridu, Santa Filitica, Greenhouse Niedda, as well as the permanent exhibition at the archaeological Baron’s Palace. For information, contact the Department of Culture, tel 079/3055068. From May to September you can also contact the IAT (CVB): tel. 079/3392258, 3120063;

author: Antonio Fonsa

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