The Messapian walls were subjected to archaeological restrictions to promote their protection, without however involving a program of systematic investigations. In the mid-1980s the expropriation proposal for Fondo Acchiatura was presented to the Ministry and with the subsequent acquisition the archaeological park of Rudiae was established. Over the last two decades, the topographic investigations carried out by the Laboratory of Ancient Topography and Photogrammetry of the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Salento have allowed the preparation of the archaeological map of the site. Starting from 2011, the excavation of the Rudiae amphitheater was carried out, in collaboration between the Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the Provinces of Brindisi, Lecce and Taranto and the Municipality of Lecce, in an area of the recently acquired Messapian settlement by the municipal administration, thanks to a PRUSST loan. The research brought to light almost entirely the perimeter ring of the monument, the radial corridors (vomitoria) that divided the auditorium into wedges and part of the substructures on which the rows of seats rested. Also in 2011, as part of the valorization project promoted by the Regional Directorate for Cultural and Landscape Heritage of Puglia, excavation tests were conducted in the north-western sector of the Rudiae city walls. The excavations involved a section of the external moat and the mighty Messapian fortification, lined both internally and externally by opus quadratum wall structures with limestone blocks, for a total thickness of approx. 8 m. The excavation of the amphitheater resumed from November 2014 until September 2015, with POIn FESR 2007-2013 funding (Enhancement of areas of cultural attraction – Line 1), and allowed the southern half of the building to be brought to light from spectacle up to arena level. Between 2016 and 2017, the new project for the recovery and valorization of the archaeological area of Rudiae, financed with FSC 2007/2013 funds, made it possible to bring the northern sector of the monument to light and to carry out an initial conservative intervention on the wall structures , as well as the in situ repositioning of some blocks. The field activities, with the scientific coordination of Francesco D’Andria, directed by the architects Enrico Ampolo and Roberto Bozza, were carried out by the companies Nicolì SpA (2014-2015) and De Marco SRL-Lithos SRL (2016-2017), with the archaeological assistance of the company Archeologia Ricerca e Valorizzazione SRL (A.R.Va), a spin-off of the University of Salento.

The Rudiae Archaeological Park is about 3 km south-west from Lecce. The entrance to the Park, equipped with an internal car park in the Fondo Acchiatura area, is located in Via A. Mazzotta (40°19’55.6″ N 18°08’46.3″ E), in front of the IISS Presta Columella. For the visit (which lasts about an hour), we recommend comfortable shoes, hat/hat and water.




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