Sites & cities that bear the name of Luceria


Today in : Italy
First trace of activity : ca. 4th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 4th century C.E
Recorded names : Nuceria?, Predàro

Description : Luceria is an ancient city in the northern Apennines, located in the comune of Canossa in the Province of Reggio Emilia, on the right bank of the river Enza. Luceria probably arose as a mercantile centre in the 4th century BC. It was located in Gallia Cispadana, at the meeting point of three important communication routes: the old road which travelled from the river Po along the right bank of the river Enza to the south where it crossed the Apennines to Tuscia; the foothill track which connected the western zone to the east; and the mountain track which led up towards the hills where the Medieval castle would later be built. The first inhabitants of the place were the Ligurians, probably the Friniati, who developed close ties with the neighbouring Etruscans of Servirola (modern San Polo d'Enza), after some initial hostility. They took advantage of the strategic position of their settlement to trade with settlements which were further afield too. In the 2nd century BC, the Roman Republic colonisted the Po Valley and became very interested in the nodal points of the various territories for both economic and military reasons. They settled at Luceria, leading to the development of a mixed population and the transformation of what had been just an open-air market into a proper town with houses, public buildings, paved roads, sidewalks and services for travellers, like accommodation for livestock with running water and warehouses for storing goods. The customs and traditions of the Ligurians did not disappear and the Romans did not impose their own culture. Instead, Roman culture merged with the native one slowly, probably accompanied by cross-cultural marriages. The Romanisation of Luceria dates to the Republican era, but the city actually became important later on, in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, under the Roman Empire. At this time there were small neighbouring villages south of the rio Vico, which still exist today, such as Vico (Latin for "village"), Taverne (from the Latin Tabernae) and Carbonizzo (from carbonescere, "to collect charcoal"). Traces of a vast fire which destroyed all the wooden structures in the city date to this period. They were replaced with brick buildings on strong stone foundations. Thereafter Luceria expanded to its maximum size, occupying around 100,000 m2, bordered on the north by the Rio Luceria and to the south by the Rio Vico and crossed diagonally by a major paved street, which reaches up to 6 metres in width. Luceria is also mentioned in a letter written by the Emperor Valentinian I to his prefect Rufinus about grazing rights, which ends: VIIII Kal. Oct., Luceriae Valentiniano et Valente aa. conss. (23 September 365). Subsequently, the city of Luceria was suddenly abandoned for unknown reasons.

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