13. The Roman Theatre

The remains of the Roman theatre are located in the block between contra’ Santi Apostoli, piazzola San Giu-seppe, contra’ Porton del Luzzo, and piazzola Gualdi. They were engulfed and almost always re-used in the buildings that currently occupy the site, which show the curvilinear profile of the cavea and suggest the location of the stage. The theatre was built at the end of the first century BC in the Southern part of the city (later known as “di Berga”).
The cavea was oriented towards the North and had a diameter of approximately 80 m. It was supported by 24 radial walls topped with barrel vaults, connected at the centre by a solid foundation that carried the first seven rows of seating (ima cavea). A semicircular gallery ran along the external perimeter, with arches displayed on the façade. From the gallery, spectators could access the various parts of the cavea through a complex system of staircases located in radial openings, as well as two vaulted passages (aditus maximi), which connected the cavea to the stage area.
This was composed of a backdrop with three deep curvilinear niches, containing the traditional access doors for the actors, with rich architectural decorations and statues.
The backstage area (postscaenium) had two large semicircular niches set against those of the backdrop, and also had a portico (porticus post scaenam) that extended at least 70 m towards the centre of the city.

Entrance of the stairway leading to the upper floors of the building (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

Entrance of the stairway leading to the upper floors of the building (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

Plan reconstruction (Drawing by David Hosking, Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

Plan reconstruction (Drawing by David Hosking, Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)