The Libarna Urban Landscape Project is the first research driven, systematic investigation of the ancient city of Libarna conducted since its discovery in the late 18th century. As an important settlement in the region of Gallia Cisalpina (“Gaul on our side of the alps” as the Romans called it), Libarna represents an opportunity to better understand Roman colonies and cultural interaction in northern Italy. Previous work has primarily focused on excavating to “rescue” elements of the city from encroaching development.
This city occupied a strategic position along the via Postumia, a major road and trade route which connected the Etruscan and Gallic hubs of the north to the Roman world, exhibits many traditional Roman elements; however, Libarna is still a site unto itself and as such gives us insight into the political, social, and economic transitions that followed the region’s incorporation into the Roman Empire.
While the ancient city of Libarna became a città morta, “dead city,” in the fifth century CE, the Via Postumia maintained its significance as a vital trade route. Today, modern train lines and a highway parallel the ancient Roman road and expansion of these routes threaten the subterranean remains of the city. Additionally, the region of Gallia Cisalpina occupies a somewhat neglected space in archaeological research and important sites like Libarna are often left out of our narratives of life in Roman Italy and the imperial expansion of Rome. By investigating Libarna, our work hopes to fill in gaps in our current knowledge of the Roman world and urban life in this fascinating region.