The One Where They go to Ferento
by Emily Swett, USAC student
Rising upon the hill of Pianicara between two very powerful and important streams, overlooking one of the most gorgeous views of all of Tuscia is the Etruscan city of Ferento. Originating around the 4th Century BC, the archaic city was opposite to the St Francis hill and the village of Acquarossa. By the 6th Century BC Ferento was destroyed leading to the development of an ancient Roman civilization upon the ruins of the Etruscan site. During this golden age of Roman society, Augustus was emperor and the construction of theaters, amphitheaters, forums, and extensive baths helped to propel the city of Ferento forward as a major destination. While theaters, amphitheaters, and forums are nothing new for Roman towns across the world, the most interesting part of Ferento is the development of several bathing systems. With one bath containing heated water and another containing very cool water, Roman engineering meant that the temperature of the baths could change with a simple release program, releasing hot water when the bath was too cool and cold water when the bath was to warm. Incredibly this system is often followed today in some baths, spas, and even personal pools depending on where you are in the world. While much of the sight remains unexcavated, the small parts that have been exposed and studied by Tuscia University in Viterbo have been compiled into a tour given by Volunteers upon request. Standing in the middle of the ancient amphitheater shows the incredible craftsman ship of Roman engineers. By the 12th Century AD the magic of Roman ingenuity had worn off and the city of Ferento was reduced to a minute middle aged castle only to be desecrated by the Viterbesi due to religious unrest. Ferento is a majestic place, and a must stop on a tourist’s journey through the hills of Tuscia.