Area Archeologica del Teatro di Marcello
- Via del Teatro di Marcello 44 Ghetto
- 09:00-19:00 winter, 09:00-18:00 summer
Lonely Planet review for Area Archeologica del Teatro di Marcello
Rising from the ruins to the east of Via del Teatro di Marcello, the Teatro di Marcello is the star of this recently opened archaeological area.
The theatre was originally planned by Julius Caesar but remained unfinished at the time of his death in 44 BC. Augustus then inherited the project and named it after his favourite nephew Marcellus, who had died earlier in 23 BC. By 17 BC the theatre was in use, and was formally inaugurated in 11 BC.
Capable of holding more than 20,000 people, it was frequently restored after fires and earthquakes until it eventually fell into disuse. In AD 365 it was partially demolished and the stone used to restore nearby Ponte Cestio.
Beyond the theatre, the Portico d'Ottavia is the oldest quadriporto (four-sided porch) in Rome. You'll need to use your imagination to turn the columns and fragmented pediment you see today into the enormous square colonnade that it once was. Originally erected by a builder called Octavius in 146 BC, it was rebuilt in 23 BC by Augustus, who kept the name in honour of his sister Octavia.
The vast rectangular portico, supported by 300 columns, included temples dedicated to Juno and Jupiter, Latin and Greek libraries, and numerous statues.
From the Middle Ages until the end of the 19th century, the portico formed part of the city's fish market.