The theatre, visible from Vicolo del Fontanone, is located at the eastside of the Capitoline Temple and connected to it through the «aula dei pilastrini», a room divided in three naves by two rows of tall and slim pillars. The theatre was built during the Flavian era (69-96 AD), probably on preexisting buildings, and was completely restored at the end of the 2nd century, at the peak of its splendour. Between the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 6th century it was partially demolished, but for few centuries it continued to be a place for public gatherings.
The theatre, like its Greek counterparts, lays gently on the sloping hill: to better adapt to the shape of the terrain, its front part is slightly deviated from the direction of the Decumanus (a road heading East to West in ancient Roman cities). Staring at the theatre from Vicolo del Fontanone it is possible to see the vaults of vomitori, the entrance for the public, on its top. Down below there is the level of the stage – probably with two architectural orders – and the orchestra pit. The stage extended below the present Vicolo, and on the southern side of the theatre it is possible to picture the majestic theatre overlooking the Decumanus Maximus, as suggested by the presence of some buildings. Built in medolo stone and marble, with bricks in the highest ambulatory, the theatre is characterised by its large size. It is said to welcome 15,000 spectators.
Between the Temple and the Theatre there is the splendid Gambara-Maggi Palace. Built from the end of the 14th century by Maggi family on the remains of the Roman Theatre (see the foundations on the eastern side), it was enlarged when the palace was left in the hands of Gambara family. It has frescoes dating back to the end of the 15th century, wooden ceilings with painted small boards (currently closed to the public).
THE ROMAN THEATRE
Via Musei, 57