A place in the historic center of Rome where the Republican temples and the Theater of Pompey were the backdrop for the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. opened to the public for the first time. The cats that have long dominated its ramshackle paths and jumbled ancient stones have been given a much neater, informative, and easier to navigate new environment from which to blink lazily at their fans.
An archaeological dig funded by jewelry house Bulgari began in 2021 with the goal of transforming a sunken plaza in the middle of one of Rome’s busiest piazzas into a walkable space, rather than a littered, weedy pile of broken buildings. stones and unidentified ruins.
Advertising and the press rely heavily on the fact that this is the place where Caesar was killed, but this is something of a fiction. On Largo di Torre Argentina, only a tiny part of Pompeii’s massive theater complex on the Campus Martius, completed in 55 BC, is visible. It is part of a tuff base under the edge of the Pompeian Curia, where the Roman Senate temporarily held meetings after a fire in 53 BC. destroyed the Senate building in the Forum. The entrance to the curia, which was actually the crime scene, is under the Teatro Argentina, an 18th-century opera house that overlooks the archaeological site across the road.
The remains of the buildings that gave the Area Sacra its name are much older than the theater and date from the 4th to 2nd centuries BC. There are four temples named AD because no one is sure what deities they were dedicated to. Temple C is the oldest and is believed to have been dedicated to the fertility goddess Feronia. The next temple was A, built in the middle of the 3rd century BC. Temple D dates from the 2nd century BC. and is the largest of the four. The temples were damaged by a fire that devastated the city in 111 BC. A new floor was installed on the rubble, and Temple B was built after the fire. B is the only round temple in the Area Sacra. The travertine slab floor you see now was installed by Emperor Domitian in 80 AD after yet another fire.
The temples were abandoned in the 5th century and were quarried for building materials. There is evidence that large blocks of tufa were reused at the site of the former Area Sacra in the 8th and 9th centuries, but these were probably dwellings. The church was built in the 9th century and there are still remains of some of its 12th century alterations, including the Cosmati pavement.
The growth of the city eventually eclipsed even the medieval buildings, and the Sacra District was forgotten. It was rediscovered in 1926 during the construction of new buildings. Sandwiched between the criss-crossing streets and tramways of modern Rome, the temple district was never meant to be visited by visitors. People had to be content with looking into the pit from the level of the modern street.
The redesign now allows visitors to descend and explore the area via an accessible lift and walkways. There are no barriers, fences or scaffolding blocking the view. Everything is even on the same plane, so people with mobility aids can easily maneuver. Two new spaces have been opened, displaying many of the sculptural, architectural, and funerary artifacts found at the site during the 1920s demolition. Information panels in Italian and English tell the history of the site from antiquity to the 20th century. Designed for the visually impaired and blind, two large panels include Braille descriptions and two 3D-printed objects from scans of the originals – a marble fragment with a relief of a bird pecking at a fruit and a colossal head of an iconic female statue.
The new elevated walkways, exhibition space, information panels and lighting system will not affect the cats that have colonized the area since it was fully opened in 1929. Wall from the side of Via Arenula square.