Hadrian's theatre find 'biggest find in Rome' since 1920s
Archaeologists who have completed the excavation of a 900- seat arts centre under one of Rome’s busiest roundabouts are calling it the most important Roman discovery in 80 years.
The centre, built by the emperor Hadrian in AD123 under what is now the Piazza Venezia, offered three massive halls where Roman nobles flocked to hear poetry, speeches and philosophy tracts while reclining on terraced marble seating.
“Hadrian’s auditorium is the biggest find in Rome since the forum was uncovered in the 1920s,” said Rossella Rea, the archaeologist running the dig.
The site sheds new light on Hadrian’s love of poetry – he wrote his own verse in Latin and Greek – and his taste for bold architecture.
At the centre of the main hall is a massive, nine-by-five-metre chunk of the monumental roof which came crashing down during an earthquake in 848 after standing for seven centuries. – (Guardian service)