The City of Rome (Comune di Roma) has an excellent programme of ‘Open Monuments’ (visit their Monumenti Aperti website). Part of this programme is “un monumento al mese”, an archaeological monument that is usually closed but opens up for a single day (often for free, even if the website states otherwise). Last Sunday, it was the so-called “Auditorium of Maecenas” that opened up for a couple of hours. I had the opportunity to visit and took some snapshots (more below the fold).
The auditorium, which in fact is more likely to be a very elaborate dining hall with its own waterfall-like fountain, is only a very small part of a large domestic complex, most of which was destroyed after its discovery in 1874 (Claridge 1998: 294-297; De Vos 1983; Rizzo 1983; Scandurra 1983). Its many niches are painted in beautiful blue and green colours with motifs alluding to a garden setting – a very popular theme in 1st century wall-painting. Incidentally, some very elaborate examples of this trend from Pompeii and Prima Porta are currently on display at the wonderful “Rosso Pompeiano” show at Palazzo Massimo. Another good reason to visit Rome, as if anyone really needed one…
Theatre seating or elaborate fountain? Photo: TMK, February 2008.
Amanda Claridge. 1998. Rome. An Oxford Archaeological Guide. Oxford: Oxford UP.
Carmelo Scandurra. 1983. “Il restauro delle pitture dell’Auditorium di Mecenate”, pp. 248-252, in L’archeologia in Roma capitale tra sterro e scavo. Venezia: Marsilio Editori.
Mariette De Vos. 1983. “Funzione e decorazione dell’Auditorium di Mecenate”, pp. 231-247, in: L’archeologia in Roma capitale tra sterro e scavo. Venezia: Marsilio Editori.
Silvana Rizzo. 1983. “L’Auditorium di Mecenate”, pp. 225-230, in: L’archeologia in Roma capitale tra sterro e scavo. Venezia: Marsilio Editori.