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Adrian's Auditoria

Piazza Venezia - Auditoria di Adriano

During the recent works on the Metro Line C, the remains of a monumental two-storey public building of the Emperor Hadrian’s times (117-138 AD), were found in Piazza Madonna di Loreto.

Two of the three rooms that have been brought to light, have precious floor and wall decorations in polychrome marble; a part of the third had already been identified in the early twentieth century during the construction of the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali.

The building bordered to the north with a housing complex of the second century. A.D. (insula), and to the west, with a commercial block located along the Via Flaminia, also found in the recent investigations for Metro C in the centre of Piazza Venezia.

Recent studies have made it possible to understand how the building, called Hadrian's Auditoria, was a place where public readings of poetic and prose works, the teaching of rhetoric and judicial activities were held. The central corridor was intended for the speaker who presented his work to an audience of high cultural level arranged on the tiers with seats (subsellia).

Thanks to the stamps (marks with inscriptions) found on the bricks of the walls, it was possible to date the building between 123-125 AD.

The only other buildings that, in the Roman world, are known to have had the same function, are those of the same emperor Hadrian in Athens (132 AD) and in Alexandria of Egypt (IV-VII century AD).

In late antiquity, in the sixth century. AD, the rooms now devoid of marble coatings were used by a metallurgical workshop for the processing of copper alloys. The plant, of large proportions, is the largest in Rome in this period.

The workshop still has the pits for housing small furnaces dug into the floor and along the steps; the ingots and waste from the processing were also found.

The workshop was destroyed between the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth century. A.D. and the central area was used as a burial place.

The earthquake of 847-848 AD caused the collapse of the upper floor and the vaulted roofs: a large portion of the vault is visible on the floor of the north hall.

Between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a workshop for the production of lime was set up in the central hall, probably related to the construction of the nearby neighborhoods in the area of ​​the ancient Forum of Trajan and along the Via Flaminia.

It was at the end of the sixteenth century that the Fornari hospital was built in this area, built by the homonymous Confraternity which also built the nearby church of Santa Maria di Loreto. From the excavation of a well found inside the courtyard comes an extraordinary amount of vases, for the most part intact or recomposed, used in the hospital.


POINT (12.482992 41.895869)

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Gli auditoria di Adriano, Piazza Venezia
Piazza Venezia
41° 53' 45.1284" N, 12° 28' 58.7712" E


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