11. The roman Cryptoporticus in Piazza Duomo

In 1954, a Roman cryptoporticus was discovered du-ring site excavations for the construction of the rectory of the Cathedral. It extends in the entire area between palazzo Roma and the rectory courtyard.
Its gallery structure, with the floor located 6.30 m beneath the current street level, was built by taking advantage of the existing slope towards the South. It was the basement of a great house of the south-western neighbourhood of the Roman city, and functioned as a support for the portico of the interior garden.
The building is composed of three wings, each with a single structural span, arranged in the typical Π layout. Other rooms and a diagonal gallery are located at the ends of the middle section. The three vaulted wings are approximately 3 m wide and almost 30 m long. Thirty-one small windows opened onto the garden and provided light and air for the basement.
Access to the upper floors was via a narrow two flight staircase, which was also vaulted, and was located near the end of the Northern wing.
The galleries in the cryptoporticus were an extension of the living spaces of the house, as shown by the careful treatment of the walls and the paving of the floors, of which only a few fragments remain. The remaining rooms were instead used as service spaces.
The building was constructed between the end of the first century B.C. and the beginning of the first century A.D., and must have been in use at least until the fourth century.

Interior: North and West wings (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

Interior: North and West wings (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

Hypothetical reconstruction of the complex (Graphic representation by Loretta Zega, Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

Hypothetical reconstruction of the complex (Graphic representation by Loretta Zega, Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)