The monumental complex of the Acropolis of Alatri is one of the best preserved pre-Roman tourist attractions in Italy. The two entrances to the acropolis are called Porta Maggiore and Porta Minore.
History and description
The Alatri Arcopolis consists of a huge construction on the top of a hill and dates back to the 7th century BC. It is made of large stones put together without the use of cement. This style of brickwork is called polygonal masonry.
Two gates give access to the Acropolis, the Porta Maggiore (also called Porta di Civita) on the south side, consisting of 8 huge boulders with an architrave on top, and the Porta Minore, which covers a narrow, rising corridor.
The Porta Maggiore has two phallic figures inscribed on it, remains of the ithyphallic rites associated with the Pelasgian cult, the Pelasgians being pre-Greek inhabitants of Greece.
Close to the Porta Maggiore there are three niches in the wall, probably the abodes of simulacra of protective gods.
In the 2nd century BC the censor Lucio Betilieno Varo had a huge portico erected. The ruins of this construction can still be seen near the slope that starts at the Porta Minore.