Capitolium of Brixia, Italy

The Capitolium of Brixia or the Temple of the Capitoline Triad in Brescia was the main temple in the center of the Roman town of Brixia (Brescia). It is represented at present by fragmentary ruins, but is part of an archeological site, including a Roman amphitheatre and museum in central Brescia. Together with the theater and the remains of the city forum, it is the most important complex of ruins and remains of Roman public buildings in northern Italy.

In 2011 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is part of the serial Longobardi site in Italy: places of power (568 – 774 AD).

Overview
In the historical heart of Brescia there are substantial archaeological remains relating to the monumental buildings of the Capitoline area of the ancient city. In Roman times Brescia – Brixia – was in fact one of the most important cities of northern Italy, located along the so-called via Gallica (artery that connected some of the most significant centers of Celtic origin north of the Po), at the mouth of the Alpine valleys of ancient settlement (the Camonica Valley and the Trompia Valley), between Lake Iseo and Lake Garda, and immediately north of a fertile and extensive plain area, enhanced since the Augustan age with impressive works of agricultural organization (centuriations).

In the archaeological area located in the center of the urban fabric, the oldest and most significant buildings of the city are still visible: the Sanctuary of the republican age (1st century BC), the Capitolium (73 AD), the Theater (1st-3rd century AD), the stretch of the pavement of the decumanus maximus, on which Via dei Musei insists today. The area also opens onto today’s Piazza del Foro, which retains vestiges of the Roman-era square (1st century AD). Archaeological remains (forum and thermal plant; basilica) can also be visited below Palazzo Martinengo, today the seat of the Province. In addition to these Roman buildings, noble buildings from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and modern age, which “rise” directly from the ancient ruins (Palazzo Maggi Gambara and Casa Pallaveri, both owned by the municipality) are also part of the area.

In this well circumscribed area of the city we can therefore read an uninterrupted stratigraphy of testimonies that extend from the second century BC. C. until the nineteenth century. In 1830, following excavations undertaken in this area, the headquarters of the Patrio Museum was placed in the Capitolium, the first city museum to inaugurate the museum vocation of this area.

Since 1998, an organic project has been launched to recover the Capitolium archaeological area. It consists in deepening the knowledge about the area in its complete archaeological and architectural recovery, in its enhancement and in the complete and definitive opening to public use. This opening, in addition to returning to the public the most important urban portion of the city of ancient times, constitutes the completion of the museum itineraries of the City Museum, set up in the nearby monumental complex of Santa Giulia, and one of the most significant archaeological routes and best preserved of Italy, recognized World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the siteThe Lombards in Italy. The places of power (568-774 AD.).

History
The temple was built in 73 AD during the rule of emperor Vespasian. The prominent elevated location and the three identifiable cellae, each with their own polychrome marble floor, all help confirm that this temple would have represented the capitolium of the town, that is the temple dedicated to the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The Capitolium replaced an earlier set of temples, a “Republican Sanctuary”, consisting apparently of four discrete temples that had been erected around 75-90 BC, and refurbished during the reign of Augustus.

The three cellae of the capitolium have been rebuilt, and the walls of the left cella are used as a lapidarium to display local epigraphs found during the 19th centuries. In front of the cellae, are the partially reconstructed remains of a portico, which was composed of Corinthian columns that supported a pediment with a dedication to the Emperor Vespasian.

The complex, and other Roman ruins are located at one end of Via dei Museii, once the original Decumanus Maximus of Brixia, which coursed some 5 meters below the present street level, and along the route of the. Broad stairs rose up to portico from the Decumanus.

Almost entirely buried by a landslide of the Cidneo Hill, the temple was rediscovered in 1823. Reconstruction was performed soon after by Rodolfo Vantini. During excavation in 1826, a splendid bronze statue of a winged Victory was found inside it, likely hidden in late antiquity to preserve it from pillage.

Excavations and discoveries
The history of the Brescian archeology itself began in the archaeological area of the Capitolium. It was in fact following an official invitation from the Municipal Congregation that the University of Arts, Letters and Arts, in 1822, promoted the rediscovery of the Roman city. Digging around a white stone capital that emerged in the garden of a palace, the remains of the ancient temple and numerous finds that belonged to the building of worship or to the eras that followed after the abandonment of it gradually came to light.

The excavations culminated with the discovery, completely unexpected, in July 1826, of the deposit of large bronzes that helped make ancient Brescia famous: between two walls of the temple the famous winged Vittoria was found and, together with it, 6 heads portrait in gilded bronze, fragments of statues, decorated and smooth frames that were to cover the architecture of the temple, decorations of equestrian statues and other various elements.

Given the importance of what had emerged from this happy campaign of archaeological investigations, the members of the University and the municipal administration decided to set up the Patrio Museum, the first city museum in the cells of the temple, specially restored and integrated especially in the risers.

Under the careful guidance of Luigi Basiletti and Rodolfo Vantini, the ancient Roman walls were superimposed on the fragments of the Roman age, keeping the old planimetric trend almost unchanged, the new walls to reconstitute the three closed spaces used in ancient times as cult cells. The access openings of the two sides were closed with grates, while communication passages between the central cell and the two smaller ones, still visible today, were opened. For the new structures, deliberately different materials and assembly techniques were used compared to the Roman ones, in order to distinguish the attempt, made by the moderns, to reproduce the ancient architectural structure.

With cutting-edge selection and exhibition criteria for that period, the numerous epigraphs, all coming exclusively from the city and province – found or donated -, were walled up in the Museum.

The epigraphs that could not be transported to the Capitolium, because they were walled up in other buildings or not delivered by the towns of the province where they were located, were replaced by painted copies, works by the painter Joli, first custodian of the setting up Museum. Furthermore, the fragmentary pieces were integrated by the Labus with ” supplements… marked with yellow characters “, with the evident intention of visually reporting the intervention made on the ancient element.

The epigraphs were divided under the expert guidance of the Labus into six thematic classes: in the central cell the inscriptions of a sacred character were walled up, the honorary ones, concerning members of both the imperial family, and of local families who boasted presences in the Senate of Rome or who they held prestigious positions in the administration of the Empire. Then followed the sepulchral inscriptions, indispensable and precious documents for the reconstruction of numerous aspects of the Roman world: organization of society, judiciary, forms of worship and priesthoods, colleges and associations, shows,… Always in this room it was placed, ov an epigraph is still visible today that recalls the inauguration of the Museum, which took place in 1830.

Various types of objects were collected in the western cell, divided into two large classes: on the one hand the result of recent excavations carried out in the Capitolium itself, on the other the materials donated by institutions and private citizens or recovered from other buildings in the city. The bronzes were displayed in large closets, together with medals and coins, while the statue of Victory stood in the middle of the room.

In the eastern cell the epigraphs defined “Christian” were walled up, and along the side walls there were fragments of architectural decorations and sculptures, and works produced between the XIV and XVI century AD. C.

Over the years, numerous finds have merged into the building, which have gradually been brought to light in Brescia and the surrounding area over the years.

Between 1938 and 1945, the pronaos of the temple were partially rebuilt in response to the requests from Rome for the celebrations of the 2,000th Augustus, raising the columns with the surviving fragments and relocating a portion of the pediment with the inscription that mentions the emperor Vespasian.

The “mobile” content of the three cells has been subject over the years to the practical needs that the dynamism of the life of the Museum imposed: new arrivals of materials, need for safer shelter, better guarantees of conservation and availability of other storage places.

In the immediate post-war period, some exhibition and storage rooms were built between the temple and the hill behind, necessary given the increase in the number of works and the conservation needs, especially of the bronzes.

With the opening of the Museum of the City in Santa Giulia in 1998, and the transfer of most of the finds to the visiting paths of the new Museum, a new season of studies and discoveries began around the Capitolium.

Archaeological investigations conducted close to the building have brought to light a sequence of religious buildings from the 2nd century BC. C., when the city was still the capital of the Cenomani Gauls and had commercial and diplomatic relations with Rome.

The three large classrooms, freed from the heavy stone elements, have revealed the presence of still a good part of the original floor, in slabs of polychrome marble arranged to form geometric decorations (opus sectile): one of the largest and best preserved in northern Italy. The careful restoration and study have allowed it to date to the mid-first century AD. C. and the identification of traces of restorations that help to understand how much the temple has remained in use.

The survey, the survey and the study of the numerous architectural elements have allowed a correct reconstruction of the elevation of the building and the definition of the main building phases, culminating in 73 AD. C. with the inscription of the pronaos which mentions the emperor Vespasian.

Architecture and decoration
The temple in which the Capitoline Triad was venerated -Jove, Juno and Minerva-, a tangible sign of the belonging of a city to the empire and culture of Rome, represents a unique case in the panorama of northern Italy, and not only for the its exceptional degree of conservation; from 7 March its value is increased by the possibility of being able to enter it and be able to immerse yourself in the ancient atmosphere that still characterizes it.

It was built in the space between the decumanus maximum and the Cidneo hill, in an area sacred to the city at least from the second century BC. C., as evidenced by the remains of older buildings subject to the latest excavation campaigns, inside a high and closed terrace on the Forum, amplifying the scenographic system and inserting it in a new and more complex global project of arrangement of the area, with the side porticoes connected architecturally to those of the Forum so as to unify the temple, the square and the basilica in a single scenic backdrop.

The shape recalls that of a previous Augustan building, on a podium about 3 meters high, denouncing a remarkable earliness in the acquisition of models practically contemporary to what was being experienced in Rome.

The Capitolium consists of three cells in a single body, separated by cavities, with masonry in listed work, covered in Botticino marble. The hierarchically prevalent role of the central hall, underlined by the correspondence with the front hexastyle pronaos, is also confirmed by the platform for a large altar, found in front of the steps of the pronaos, flanked by two monumental fountains, which enriched the imposing scenography.

The interior decoration of the classrooms has been preserved in opus sectile, with precious marble slabs in ancient yellow marble, pavonazzetto and African, arranged to form geometric motifs, in some areas of the classrooms compensated by the nineteenth-century restorations made with the fragments of the original marble slabs found during archaeological excavations. The walls, of which the base in cipollino marble survives, were probably decorated with incrustations of polychrome marble architecturally framed by pilasters in white marble on simulated podiums that suggested continuity with the real ones preserved on the bottom of the cells, where the cult statues of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

The temple was also probably the seat of the imperial cult, whose ritual needs partly motivated some unusual architectural choices, such as the central body of the pronaos advanced from the porticoed front of the cells and the connection of the temple with the colonnade of the side porticoes, built for the first time in Brescia and Rome in the Forum of Peace, in the wake of well-known Hellenistic precedents.

The only example of Capitolium (together with that of Verona) in Cisalpina, the temple of Brescia is certainly the most representative, for the state of conservation, the grandeur of the plant, the originality of the solutions adopted. In particular, the architectural decoration, a Corinthian order made of local white limestone, represents the rare dated example of a new way of conceiving the vegetable ornament in architectural function in which elements that refer to a northern-Italian and provincial taste coexist, alongside to the more typically Flavi innovative motifs. Based on a unitary design idea, perhaps of urban inspiration, the building is a precious document of Vespasiano’s construction activity, of which little remains in Rome.

Finally, on the Cidneo hill, the seat of a place of worship certainly from the first century BC. C., was built in the second half of the first century AD. C. a temple with north-south orientation, on a high podium with a central staircase. This building, designed and built probably in the Flavian era with the Capitolium and the square, scenically completed the architectural perspective of the forensic area.

The overall vision, especially in the design phase, of this architectural unicum, represents a high moment of imperial evergetism, a sign of the benevolence of the emperor, restitutor aedium sacrarum, after the battle of Bedriacum in 69 AD in which the Brescia had remained faithful. The building still bears the mention of the emperor Vespasian on the pediment of the tympanum, datable to 73 AD. C.

The rediscovery
In 1826, moreover, in the cavity of the wall that isolates the temple from Colle Cidneo the group of Roman bronzes, including the four portraits of the late imperial era and the famous Vittoria Alata, plus other objects, all probably buried to hide it from the systematic destruction of pagan idols by Christians. The complex was partially rebuilt between 1935 and 1938 through the use of bricks, which allowed the recomposition of the Corinthian columns, part of the pronaos and the three cells behind the facade.

The project should have been larger: practically all the buildings that occupied the space of the forum would have had to be demolished (except for Palazzo Martinengo and the church of San Zeno al Foro) up to the ancient basilica in Piazza Labus, dig up to the original ground level and restore or rebuild most of the columns of the portico around the square. Connecting bridges would therefore have been positioned to allow an overview of the ruins from above (Via Musei itself would have become, in that stretch, nothing more than a bridge) with stairs that descended there in several places. The project was never totally put into practice and we limited ourselves to laying bare and renovating the only column of the forum still intact, still clearly visible in Piazza del Foro.

Some structural elements that emerged from the ground were reused as construction material, for example the tiles that probably decorated the ceiling of the pronaos, reused in the facade of the church of the Most Holy Body of Christ.

Brixia: Roman Brescia Archaeological Area
In the heart of the town’s historic centre the well-preserved remains of some of Roman Brixia’s principal monuments still survive. This is one of the most spectacular and extensive archaeological zones in the north of Italy, where visitors may enter a series of buildings dating from the 1st century BC to the 3rd AD and experience directly their architecture and lavish decoration: mosaics, marble flooring, wall paintings and relief carvings.

The area was reopened to the public in 2015, after years of archaeological excavations, conservation work and development to make it completely accessible. The area is equipped with modern communication systems, including Virtual and Augmented Reality which allows visitors to immerse themselves in the life and history of the Roman city.

The Capitolium monumental
The monumental remains of ancient Brixia illustrates a series of historical events and architectural transformations, from prehistoric times until the Middle Ages.

The construction of the building is to be attributed to Vespasiano, in 73 AD. Its “authorship” is confirmed by the original writing on the pediment: IMP. CAESAR.VESPASIANUS.AUGUSTUS. / PONT. MAX. TR. Potest. IIII. EMP. XPP CAS. IIII / CENSOR

The temple was built on top of a previous republican temple and its construction was due to the victory of the Emperor over General Vitellius, in the plain between Goito and Cremona. Destroyed by a fire during the barbarian raids that afflicted Europe in the 4th century AD and never rebuilt, it was buried by a landslide of the Cidneo hill during the Middle Ages. The temple was only brought to light in 1823 thanks to the support of the Municipality of Brescia and the University, which demolished the popular houses and the small park, the so-called Luzzaghi Garden, built years before on the leveled ground above the building, bringing to light the ancient center of the Brixia Roman.

In 2013 the Capitolium was opened to the public, the first “taste” of what will be the complete path. The Capitolium was the main temple of every Roman city and was the very symbol of the culture of Rome; in it was attributed the cult to the “Capitoline triad”, that is the main deities of the Latin pantheon: Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. In the space opposite, the faithful gathered for the main ceremonies and sacrifices were made.

Today it is possible to enter the temple and see the original parts of its decoration and furnishings of the large cells. Inside the original floors are still preserved in colored marble slabs arranged to form geometric motifs (opus sectile) dating back to the first century AD. In addition to the Botticino stone altars found here in the nineteenth century, they were placed inside the cells fragments of cult statues and furnishings. The tour begins with the story of the long history of this area, its discovery and its functions, in a suggestive atmosphere in which images and voices accompany visitors over time.

The ruins
Located in Via Musei, in the heart of the historic center of the city of Brescia, it overlooks the imposing Piazza del Foro, built in the following period on the basis of the original Roman forum and raised 4.5 m above the level of the ruins, located at the height of the ancient decumanus maximum, which can now be accessed through specially made stairs.

The layout of the temple is that of the classic three-cell Roman capitolium, i.e. prostyle, with the colonnade only in the front and closed by a wall on the sides and rear. In this case, however, the system is a little more articulated, as there is a more protruding central body flanked on both sides by two other porticoes of the same height. Behind the front of the exastila facade (i.e. with six columns on the main front) in Corinthian style, there are three cells separated by cavities, each hosting an altar dedicated to three respective deities, today identified as Minerva, Jupiter and Juno. Valuable and well preserved is the threshold of the central cell, the largest, made of Botticino marble.

The Republican temple
The oldest building, which still survives in part, is an early 1st century BC temple composed of four cult chambers, each of which opened onto a wide podium. Of thes, the westernmost is extremely well-preserved.

In this cell there is also the most imposing of the three podiums, placed in the center of each of the sacelli, on which a two-step stone base is observed. The central and left cells are still equipped with the original pavement, in African marble and breccia, decorated with beautiful well-preserved and restored mosaics, while that of the right cell has been lost. The central cell of the temple also houses an extensive lapidary on the walls established in 1830 and enlarged in the following decades, where numerous Roman stone works are preserved and exhibited, including macaws, honorary and sepulchral inscriptions, funerary steles, milestones and bases of monuments.. Temple portico with ornamentation on the external face: relief friezes, capitals and an inscription.

The 4th chamber of the Republican temple
The presence of a fourth cell, located further east, is probably ascertained, probably dedicated to Bergimo, a god of Celtic origin. Finally, there is a last cell, which was part of the ancient republican temple on which the Capitolium was later built, located below the structure of the imperial era, dating back to the first century BC, from 2015 open to the public after the restoration of the beautiful frescoes that are still preserved inside.

Even today the temple’s splendid frescoes present a remarkable sight. The wall decoration, a rare example of the ‘early second style’ (100-80 BC), features architectural elements and painting in a close-knit combination: a modular arrangement of imitation decorative-stone panels, with periodic attached Ionic half-columns bearing Ionic-Italic capitals.

Decoration of the lower register: a hanging curtain between two painted semi-columns is decorated with an undulating red band and leaf garlands.

The sanctuary
The structures of a sanctuary dating back to the first decades of the first century BC have been partially preserved under Casa Pallaveri and the Capitoline temple. C., identified already in 1823, investigated between 1956 and 1961, and finally from the nineties. It is a cult complex consisting of four large rectangular classrooms side by side on a common podium, each with an independent entrance and an access porch (portico with columns), inside a terrace overlooking the decuman.

The architectural decoration, in Vicenza limestone, is of the Corinthian order; a long external frieze reproduces in relief elements of the sacrificial ritual such as ox heads, garlands of flowers and fruits and pottery. Inside each classroom run on the long sides and on the back side, in axis with the entrance, slightly raised polychrome mosaic platforms; fluted columns are set on the lateral ones, reproduced in fresco on the walls. The pictorial decoration certainly constitutes the most peculiar aspect of this building, both for the high technical and formal quality of the construction, and for the degree of conservation.

In the two external classrooms a suspended veil is reproduced in fresco in the lower register and, upwards, vertical orthostats with marble encrustations between painted Ionic half-columns; in the internal classrooms Ionic semi-columns on plinths mark spaces limited at the bottom by series of rusticated nuts, orthostats with polychrome incrustations in the middle band and, upwards, architectural perspectives. In all the classrooms, behind the low footboards, a decoration with simple isodom motifs is adopted. The pigments were protected by a layer of beeswax combined with olive oil, which ensured its brightness and at the same time its durability.

The discovery of vaulted elements has made it possible to hypothesise for the classrooms low- backed roofs set on entablatures or lintels resting on the lateral rows of columns, according to the canonical examples suggested by the nymphaeums of the Sillan age or by the Pompeian Corinthians.

This monument, unique in the archaeological panorama of northern Italy, is attributable to high-level workers from central Italy, called to build a building in Brescia that would demonstrate the city’s adherence to the cultural model of Rome, on the occasion of the granting of the Latin law (89 BC). Just below Casa Pallaveri, the seventeenth-century building located along the north side of via Musei, the ancient decuman of the city, the western classroom is preserved in excellent condition; the pronaos and the south and west walls are visible, with the frescoes that completely cover the internal walls.

The works on this structure were resumed in 1990 under the direction of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Lombardy in collaboration with the Directorate of the Civic Museums of Brescia, on the occasion of the renovation of Casa Pallaveri. During the excavation carried out between 1990 and 1992, then resumed and completed in 2005, it was possible to investigate for the first time in its entirety the western hall of the sanctuary and the space in front of it. From research, new data emerged in particular on the size of the internal classrooms, on the construction technique of the masonry works, on the state of conservation of the frescoes, on the structure of the podium, on the prospect of the sacelli, on the confirmation of the existence of a pronaos in front of them, on the chronological sequence of the late-republican building: its construction on the remains of an older building, its use from the first half of the first century BC, the renovation in the Augustan age and finally its demolition in the Flavian era.

The excavation intervention allowed to completely empty the fourth cell of the remains of rubble that filled it, unloaded in it in the Flavian era, when the new sanctuary was built. This was not a simple intervention, given the technical difficulties due to the particular position of the Roman structures located under Casa Pallaveri. Without an adequate reinforcement and consolidation of the foundations of this building, a delicate intervention that required long reflection times and considerable construction costs, it was not possible to imagine a possibility of use for the underlying Roman complex. With the definitive restoration of the extraordinary cycle of frescoes in the classroom and at the same time the work of recovering the environment for museum purposes, the Sanctuary in 2015 opened to the public, enhancing both the Roman structures, with their mosaics and frescoes, and the context architectural and monumental that incorporates it.

Also in this case, as in that of the domus of Ortaglia, of Palazzo Martinengo, of the Roman Basilica, Brescia offers scholars and visitors an extraordinary new opportunity to approach the ancient city, to make real travel paths back in time by immersing yourself in the most important monumental evidence.

The Capitolium
In 73 AD the new temple – the Capitolium – was inaugurated under Emperor Vespasian. The Capitolium was constructed slightly further back than the earlier religious buildings, reproducing the previous temple in monumental form. The new temple stood in the middle of the sacred area, which – following the lie of the land – was above the level of the decumanus maximus and forum.

The same period saw the rebuilding of the forum, at the southern end of which stood the basilica. The Roman town centre acquired a monumental appearance which may still be appreciated today.

Western chamber of the Capitolium, with original coloured marble flooring and several statue fragments found during archaeological excavations.

The central chamber houses part of Brescia’s Roman inscription collection. On display in the middle are pieces of a monumental statue of Jupiter, to whom this cult chamber was dedicated.

The tympanum, largely rebuilt, was most probably adorned with some statues and the top (acroterion) was to be composed of a large statuary group. Of the ancient columns of the temple, only one is still present completely intact along its entire length, or the first on the left, clearly recognizable because entirely white and not completed by bricks. This column was also the only remnant that surfaced in the early nineteenth century, when the area had not yet been investigated archeologically, so much so that its top was used as a table in the garden at the back of a small cafe built at that point.

The temple could be admired from the large square once in front of it (the homonymous Piazza del Foro which today opens in front of the temple does not differ much from its original dimensions), which at the time was certainly the nerve center of political and social life, of festivals and markets and which was delimited by an arcade, of which only one Corinthian column remains of which we have already spoken. On the floor below it is engraved what could be a rudimentary chessboard, likely pastime of the merchants who had a shop here.

The temple was accessed via a staircase that rose directly from the maximum decuman, divided on two or three ramps, which led to the terrace surrounding the building, perhaps then enriched by two fountains. Always from the maximum decuman you could instead go down another staircase, in line with the one that went up to the temple, thus arriving on the hole and from there to the arcades (the decuman was therefore positioned halfway between the hole and the temple), creating a monumental background to the square.

The theatre
It is also important to remember the large theater located on the right of the temple, with its characteristic hemicycle shape, partly occupied by the presence of Palazzo Maggi Gambara, a stately residence built in the fourteenth century on the steps. Of the structure there is not much left: there are still the lowest rows of steps, resting directly on the ground, while all those in the past supported by arches have disappeared because of the collapse of the latter.

Next to the Capitolium stands the theatre, dating to the time of Augustus. Visitors may enter the cavea – the spacious seating area, in part founded directly on the slope of Cidneo Hill – and imagine the atmosphere of the ancient plays. This was one of the largest theatres in northern Italy.

From 4 October 2014 the ancient theater opens, after a first phase of renovation. Located in an elevated position with respect to the urban layout: along the slopes of the Cidneo hill, close to the Capitolium and the Forum, reachable from the maximum decuman. The layout of the building dates back to the Augustan age (end of the 1st century BC-1st century AD), and has been subject to enlargements and enrichments over the centuries, up to the remaking of the architectural decoration of the scene between II and III century AD C. The cavea consisted of sturdy semicircular tunnels that served as a substructure for the tiers: the taller wall structures, towards the north, were instead placed directly on the rock of the hill. A system of stairs distributed in the ring tunnels allowed the public to reach the three different areas of the auditorium from the entrances (from the lowest – ima- to the middle and upper part – medium and summa).

The front of the theater (which remains in the form datable between the second and third century AD) closed the auditorium to the south and was as high as the upper steps (about 30 meters); it consisted of three floors with architectural decorations in polychrome marble (columns with capitals, arches, tympanums, niches). It opened the three accesses on stage for the actors: the valva regia for the protagonist and the two lateral ones, hospitales. In front of the scenic building was the stage, of which two parallel rows of stone pillars remain which originally had to support its wooden flooring. The theater was used until the late antiquity (late 4th-early 5th century AD); between the 11th and 12th centuries, the scene collapsed, probably due to an earthquake, and the building became an open-air quarry from which building stones were removed. In the twelfth century its use as a court for public hearings is documented, but the state of neglect in which it poured and the washing away of the earth from the hill determined its definitive burial.

From the 13th century in the area, property of the noble Maggi family, the construction of the Palace was started which still insists on part of the remains of the ancient theater. The Gambara family, who succeeded the Maggi in the property in the 16th century, undertook the restructuring of the building by building a body on the south side, characterized by the frescoes of the facades with portraits of Cesari and trophies of arms and the internal staircase with a ceiling decorated with stucco. The current layout of the building is the result of a series of demolition interventions carried out since 1935, to free the underlying structures of the theater and therefore proceed with archaeological investigations. As a result of these works, the wall enclosures that delimited the stepped gardens, with their stairways, niches, ashlar and vegetable gardens, have completely disappeared.

It became, in succession over time, the headquarters of the Carabinieri barracks, of an elementary school, of the Command of the Urban Police and finally of a middle school until 1959, the Palace has not been used since then due to the precarious static conditions in to which he poured. Following the last demolitions of buildings between 1961 and 1973, it was possible to excavate the scene, part of the steps of the theater and, in correspondence with the internal rooms, identify part of the collapse of the wall of the scene and the post-classical levels, followed the abandonment of the show building.

In 2011 it with the Monastery of Santa Giulia achieved UNESCO World Heritage listing as part of the site The Longobards in Italy. Places of Power (568-774 AD).

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