5. The roman quarter among Contra’ Porti, S. Biagio and Stradella degli Stalli

The monumental complex from the Roman era brought to light thanks to research conducdet by University of Padua: its stratigraphy dates it between the first century BC and the first half of the third century AD. Between the first half of the 1st century and the 2nd century AD, the monumental building found some interesting scenic solutions to overcome the uneven ground plan of the site, which slopes down towards the river on the north. Varied rooms are assembled around large open spaces, one of which features a monumental pool and particularly rich decoration through frescoes and floor mosaics. The complex extended to Vicetia’s cardo in the east, as shown in recent excavations led by the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage. This road traced the route of an earlier pre-Roman road, which in turn was constructed on an older moat. The moat-road system is one of the first features of Vicenza’s early urban form.
According to a recent interpretation, the monumental complex might have been the headquarters of the renowned centonari (textile) guild, which during the Trajan period was supported by imperial ladies related to Vicenza’s rich families, the Solonii and the Matidii. The guild was active in the production of heavy textiles and woollen blankets, used to put out fires by Roman “firemen” (often the members of the guild themselves). A famous inscription reminding Vicenza of the presence of the collegium of the centonari is conserved at the Santa Corona Archaeological and Natural Museum.

The pre-Roman road and moat (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archeological Heritage)

The pre-Roman road and moat (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archeological Heritage)

The roman floor mosaic (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archeological Heritage)

The roman floor mosaic (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archeological Heritage)