Otricoli è un centro abitato nel sud dell’Umbria, situato in un territorio limitato ad est dai rilievi della catena appenninica e ad ovest dal”fiume di Roma”, il Tevere. Arroccato su una rupe, domina dall’alto le vestigia di quella che fu, in epoca romana, Otricoli “apud Tiberim”(al Tevere) nota come Ocriculum. Ocriculum sorse e si sviluppò in età augustea, tra il I sec. a.C. e il II sec. d.C, in una zona pianeggiante e degradante verso il Tevere edivenne presto un fiorente centro commerciale. La città crebbe difesa naturalmente da due contrafforti in tufo, sopra e a ridosso deiquali furono costruiti importanti edifici e ville patrizie. Nell’area affiora una successione sedimentaria del Pliocene sup.-Pleistocene inf., medio di ambiente marino passante ad ambiente fluvialee una copertura, variamente estesa, di rocce piroclastiche del Pleistocene medio prodotte dal vulcano di Vico.Tra la fine del VI e il VII sec. d.C. l’azione sinergica di fattori naturali e antropici (caratteristiche litologiche e morfologiche, deterioramentoclimatico e situazione di degrado conseguente alla crisi dell’Impero Romano) costrinse gli abitanti ad abbandonare l’antica città di Ocriculum.
Otricoli is a village located in the south of the Umbria Region (Central Italy). It is perched in a territory limited on the eastern side by the Apennines chain and the west by the Tiber River. From the top of a hill Otricoli dominates the ruins of the Roman village of Ocriculum.Ocriculum was founded in the 1st Century B.C. and developed during the 2nd Century A.D. It was placed in a flatten area declining towards the Tiber River and soon it became a prosperous commercial centre.Marine sediments of the Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene and fluvial sediments of the Early-Middle Pleistocene covered by Middle-LatePleistocene pyroclastic rocks cropping out in the area.In the early times of the Roman village two barrier-walls were built to widen the plain area. The Romans filled in and levelled the valleyat various times in order to obtain a wide plain area while the substructures were built as foundations of public buildings and to stabilisethe slope under the forum. In the first phase a barrier-wall was built in the lower part of the stream (close to the R. Tiber). Consequently the San Vittore stream began wandering and accumulating sediments. Later a second barrier-wall had to be built, on the upper side of the stream, beside the Baths. The San Vittore stream was also channelled between the two barrier-walls for about 300 m in order to better control the flood plain.Natural factors and human activities caused Ocriculum’s deterioration that forced the inhabitants to abandon the town in the periodbetween the end of the 6th and 7th Centuries A.D., during the climatic minimum of the Early Middle Ages. The cold, wet climatic conditions certainly facilitated the decline of the territory, already worsened by the consequences of the fall of the Roman Empire.The transfer of the inhabitants of Ocriculum to the upper village is not clearly described in historical documents, although it is certain that there was no life in this Roman village after the 7th century A.D.