The modern city of Acqui Terme is situated on the site of the Roman Aquae Statiellae, one of the most important urban centres in the southern Piedmont region, known since ancient times for the presence of rich hot springs. The old town – the name of which recalls the Ligurian Statielli, the native population finally defeated by the Romans in 173 BC – stood on a main large consular road (Via Aemilia Scauri, opened in 109 BC) directly connecting the centre with other settlements of primary importance: Alba Pompeia (Alba) to the west, Dertona (Tortona) to the east and Vada Sabatia (Vado Ligure) to the south.
The development of the Roman city – the administrative centre of a rather wide area – is dated back to the 2nd – 1st century BC: the original settlement rose around a hot spring (the famous “Bollente”), whose popularity – perhaps even in religious and cultural terms – must certainly be traced back already to pre -Roman times.
The archaeological survey allowed, in recent years, a fairly structured reconstruction of the urban development of the Roman city, providing the layout of the main internal roads, the location of the most important public spaces and buildings (the forum, the theatre, the amphitheatre, the baths) and of the private ones (urban domus and suburban villas) as well as the identification of cemetery structures surrounding the settlement, mainly located in the eastern part of the city, along the already mentioned via Aemilia Scauri. The recovery of a large number of rich funerary objects along with the luxury witnessed by some private residences and with the presence of important monumental buildings (including the famous aqueduct, whose impressive ruins still stand on the outskirts of the city) attest the high standard of living achieved by Aquae Statiellae in the early centuries of the Empire.