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Friday, August 20, 2010

Samnite Theatre is featured on Italy’s latest stamp

A new stamp issued by Italy Post last week shows a view of the Samnite Theatre in Pietrabbondante, built between the end of the 2nd century and the beginning of the 1st century B.C. and regarded as one of the most important archaeological features of the Centre-South of Italy.

The words “TEATRO SANNITICO-PIETRABBONDANTE”, (Samnite Theatre Pietrabbondante), “ITALIA”, and the denomination “€ 0,60” complete the design of a an elegant and classical stamp.

The theater-temple complex is located on the outskirts of Pietrabbondante about 966 meters above sea level, next to another small temple with arcaded shops from a previous era (200 B.C.). To build it, the Samnites got two terraces along the side of the mountain, but at different levels on a single axis. The top two buildings housed the temple and side porches.

The overall size of the area is 55 x 90 meters. The theater consists of two elements: the auditorium and the building stage, which two stone arches link together. The auditorium could contain 2500 spectators and has good acoustics. The seats were made of stone. Each stone seat is from a single stone block and the dorsal elegantly thrown backwards; at both ends of each row listed a sign that reserved three rows for judges, priests, and so on. On both sides of the orchestra, retaining walls of the embankment (analemma) end with atlases carved in stone (like the Odeon of Pompeii, however, the material is made of soft tufa). The entire embankment is supported by a large semicircular and polygonal blocks processed by cutting without regular contours.

Design and engraving Antonio Saliola
Printer Officina Carte Valori – Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato S.p.A., copper printing
Colour one
Paper fluorescent, non-watermarked
Paper size 48mm x 40mm
Print size 44mm x 36mm
Perforation 13¼ x 13
Sheet twenty-five stamps, worth “€ 15,00”