• Teatro di Pompeo (palazzo Pio)
  • Roma
  • Italy
  • Latium
  • Rome
  • Rome


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 55 BC - 500 AD


    • Streets, piazzas and the modern Palazzo Pio and adjacent buildings today hide the remains of the Theater of Pompey. From the early 19th century, Palazzo Pio’s various owners have almost continuously altered and remodeled the structure, and its modern fabric now covers large areas that, in the early 19th century were open spaces (thus, for example, the Cinema Farnese extends over what was originally the NW court). Nonetheless, as in the Crypta Balbi, the SE court of Palazzo Pio (accessible from Via di Grotta Pinta) preserves important remnants of earlier stages in the history of the extant palazzo and its predecessors. In 2003, excavations for the foundations of two elevators in and near the court found that, in some zones, it had not been disturbed since the 18th century. In these trenches, the archaeological strata began 10-15 cm under the modern pavement and included pottery, some of which dated from the 12th and 13th centuries, and architectural fragments (including part of a painted Roman vault). Our 2009 excavations on the SW side of the court ended with a stratum (at 17.30 masl) filled with broken fragments of Cararra marble. The 2011-13 excavations will continue the work of 2009. Since the SE court and our 2009 excavation area are located under the cavea of the Theater of Pompey—and, in fact, we were probably just above one of the access passages that led into the cavea, the marble fragments in our trench (dating from the 12th and 13th centuries) show that, by that date, much of the cavea had fallen or been demolished, and the space below it was being used to break up and burn the Theater’s architectural elements and statues for new construction. We hope, therefore that out 2011-13 work in the archaeological strata below 17.39 masl will document part of the theater’s structure under the cavea and produce recognizable fragments of architecture and sculpture. Inasmuch as most of the minor remains of the theater previously found in Palazzo Pio and the surrounding streets have been lost, these new discoveries would have major significance in helping us better comprehend the structure and architectural character of Pompey’s famous lost theater.


    • J. E. Packer, 2006a, A New Look at Pompey’s Theater: History, Documentation, and Recent Excavation, in American Journal of Archaeology, 110: 93-122.
    • J. E. Packer, 2006b, Digitizing Roman Imperial architecture in the early 21st century: purposes, data, failures, and prospects, in L. Haselberger, J. Humphrey (eds), Imaging Ancient Rome. Documentation –Visualization –Imagination, JRA Supplementary Series 61: 309-20.
    • J. E. Packer, 2007a, With John Burge and Maria C. Gagliardo, Looking Again at Pompey’s Theater: The 2005 Excavation Season, in American Journal of Archaeology 111: 505-522.
    • J. E. Packer, 2007b, Drawing Pompey: Three Centuries of Documenting Pompey’s Theater (1833- 2006), in Res Bene gestae. Ricerche di storia urbana su Roma antica in onore Eva Margareta Steinby, Rome: 257-78.
    • J. E. Packer, 2011a, With M. C. Gagliardo, J. N. Hopkins, The Theater of Pompey, in 2009: A New Excavation, in Bollettino della Commissione Archeologica di Roma.
    • J. E. Packer, 2011b, Pompey’s Theater and Tiberius’ Temple of Concord: A Late Republican Primer for an Early Imperial Patron, in C. Björn Ewald, F. Carlos Noreña (eds), The Empero and Rome: Space, Representation and Ritual, in Yale Classical Studies.