Ruins of ancient Nero's Theater discovered. Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini.

Ruins of ancient Nero’s Theater discovered

The ruins of Nero's Theater, the elusive imperial theater mentioned in ancient Roman writings, have been unveiled beneath the garden of an upcoming Four Seasons Hotel, a stone's throw from the Vatican.


In what is a sensational find, the ruins of ancient Nero’s Theater — the elusive imperial theater — have been discovered by experts.

Stepping into Rome’s soon-to-be luxury hotel could be likened to entering a time capsule. The ruins of Nero’s Theater, the elusive imperial theater mentioned in ancient Roman writings, have been unveiled beneath the garden of an upcoming Four Seasons Hotel, a stone’s throw from the Vatican.

Ruins of ancient Nero’s Theater discovered

Since 2020, the garden of the Renaissance-era Palazzo della Rovere has been the focus of archaeologists. Intense excavation work has taken place as part of the planned renovations on the fresco-adorned building. The palazzo, occupying an entire city block along Via della Conciliazione, leading to St. Peter’s Square, hosts an age-old Vatican chivalric order. The order rents out the space to a hotel to gather funds for Christians residing in the Holy Land.

Confirming the incoming hotel chain as Four Seasons was Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, the governor general of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. Anticipations are high, with the hotel set to open by the Vatican’s 2025 Jubilee, when a swarm of an estimated 30 million visitors and pilgrims are predicted to descend on Rome.


Unearthing Exceptional Artefacts

Excavation findings have been hailed as “remarkable”, offering a rare glimpse into Roman history from the Roman Empire through to the 15th century. Among the unearthed treasures are 10th-century glass goblets and pottery pieces, a discovery of significant importance due to limited knowledge of this epoch in Rome’s history.

Marzia Di Mento, the chief archaeologist overseeing the site, highlighted that only seven glass chalices from this period had been discovered previously. However, the excavation of this single site has unearthed seven more.

Marble columns and gold-leaf decorated plaster discovered at the site also led archaeologists to confirm the presence of Nero’s Theater, referred to in texts by ancient Roman author and philosopher Pliny the Elder, at this location near the Tiber River.


Future Plans for the Artefacts

Officials have planned to relocate the portable antiquities to a museum. As for the theater ruins, they will be re-covered once all investigations are concluded, preserving this new-found historical gem for future generations.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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