The view of the temple of Jupiter Anxur, arriving in Terracina, is nothing less than amazing. From the top of Monte Sant’Angelo it imposes its majestic structure inspired by the Hellenistic scenographic architecture of which it is one of the most important examples in our country.
The temple of Jupiter Anxur belongs, in fact, to the series of ancient sanctuaries in Latium, restored in a monumental way in the late Republic of Ancient Rome, between the end of the II century. b.C. and the beginning of the I century b.C.
The importance and antiquity of the Temple are attested by literary sources (Livio, Virgilio) and by the variety and historical and artistic relevance of the buildings that make up the archaeological site, which highlight multiple settlements (IV century b.C., mid II century b.C., early decades of the I century b.C., Middle Ages) and a dual strategic-defensive and cult function.
Monte S. Angelo is the most advanced part of the Ausoni Mountains, which right here touch the sea for the first and only time; the hill has therefore constituted, since the earliest historical times, a formidable natural barrier to human communications on the Latium coast. At the end of the IV century b.C. the route of the Via Appia passed through Monte S. Angelo to the north and, probably in the same period, the top of the hill was used for religious purposes, as evidenced by the oldest preserved structures and some finds: two terraced walls in polygonal work and ceramic fragments. In the second half of the II century. B.C. instead, the building of the “small temple” dates back, originally made up of nine vaulted rooms and a corridor behind it partly leaning against the rock.
The view from the temple is breathtaking: from the city of Terracina, the Pontine plain, the mount Circeo, the sea with the Ponziane islands and Ischia. It is easy to imagine what effect the view of the temple could have on those who approached it from the sea, with its arched terrace and its grandiose architecture.
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