Roman Amphitheatre

Turin, Italy

The excavations of the Roman Theater in Turin can only be viewed during a visit to the Museum of Antiquities. The ruins are what is left of the ancient Roman city of Augusta Taurinorum. In its heyday, the theater could accommodate around 3,000 spectators. Nowadays, it is located below the Royal Palace, of which it occupies part of the cellars.

Construction of the Roman Theater of Turin started in 13 BC. Initially, the entire complex (stage, seats and surrounding fence) was made of wood. Between 40 and 50 AD, a stone portico was added, and by the end of the century the entire structure was made of stone.

With the arrival of Christianity came a ban on theatrical performances and the complex was abandoned. At the end of the 4th century, it was replaced by a Cathedral.

In 1899, when a new wing was added to the Royal Palace, some ancient walls of the by then completely forgotten theater were discovered. It was decided to change the project, so as to be able to preserve the ruins of the monument.

The first period of restoration finished in 1911. Between 1960 and 1962 more excavations took place. From these, it became clear that there had been two pahases of construction. The extensive excavations led to a further restoration of aisles, porticoes and walls.

Besides the ruins of the complex itself, the archaeologists also found an ancient road, that separated the theater from the surrounding houses. Part of the excavations stretches to almost the present Cathedral. From there it is also possible to view parts of the ancient structure.

The semi-circular theater consisted of four sectors, separated by staircases. Its diameter was 70 meters. The stage itself was 44 meters long and 6 meters deep.



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Founded: 13 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy


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User Reviews

Damjan Sano (16 months ago)
Nicely preserved
Giornale Sentire (21 months ago)
The archaeological area of ​​the Theater of Augusta Taurinorum, which together with the Porta Palatina is the most important Roman monument preserved in Turin. The Roman Theater was the hub of Augusta Taurinorum's social life. Returned to light only in 1899 during the works for the extension of the Manica Lunga of the Royal Palace, the Roman Theater occupied an entire block close to the northeastern corner of the walls. Demolished in the late imperial age to obtain construction material for nearby buildings and buried from its own rubble, in the last 120 years it has been the subject of archaeological excavations, works and research by the Superintendency, which have provided important data on ancient Turin. The remains of the semicircular cavea, the backstage portico and the walls were affected by a series of maintenance, restoration and scenographic works that made it possible to recover the original spatiality and legibility of the architecture of the ancient monument. And in the future it can be used for shows and cultural events!
Georges Younes (2 years ago)
You can get to the Area Archeologica del Teatro Romano (archeological area of the Roman Theater) during your visit of the Turin Royal Palace. You can also easily miss it so, if you are a fan of Roman ruins, make sure to ask for it.
Robert Patruna (3 years ago)
Nice area in the front of Galeria Sabauda.
Davide Pizzi (4 years ago)
The theater was almost certainly one of the first Roman constructions built around 13 BC, since no Roman civitas could be without it. It was built following the conquest of the territories by the Roman troops of Emperor Augustus, precisely to raise the modest village of Taurasia, renamed Augusta Taurinorum, to the status of civitas. Thanks to the prolonged period of peace and economic prosperity between 70 and 90 AD, the theater was completely restructured. To increase its capacity, the cavea was enlarged with the addition of an order of more external stairways and a new curvilinear facade was built to replace the previous one. The portico behind the stage wall was also enlarged, which was equipped with a peristilium with a new stone colonnade that housed service rooms and small spaces used as dressing rooms reserved for the actors. Expanded to a capacity of three thousand people and at the height of its splendour, the theater, in all probability, also hosted some naumachìe, as some drains found in its immediate vicinity and under the initial layout of the current Via Roma would seem to testify. The theater was used for more than two centuries until the emergence of Christianity which imposed a ban on theatrical performances. At the end of the fourth century the building, now abandoned, became a quarry of building materials for the contextual construction of the first cathedral, the basilica dedicated to Christ the Savior. Almost unrecognizable and largely stripped of the finest marbles, the remains of the theater were almost completely destroyed by the first French siege of the sixteenth century. After centuries of oblivion, the current remains were brought to light only between 1899 and 1906, during the excavations for the construction of the new wing of the Royal Palace, commissioned by King Umberto I. The intervention of the architect and scholar Alfredo D'Andrade; he firmly opposed the demolition of the vestiges and, following surveys and excavations on site, suitably modified the project to expand the sleeve of the Royal Palace, allowing the restoration and conservation of the remains. The rearrangement works ended in 1911 and the remains of the theater are currently visible both in the external part next to the nearby Cathedral of San Giovanni, and in the underground part of the adjacent building, the prestigious seat of the Museum of Antiquities.
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