9. The Archaeological site beneath the Cathedral

The ruins of the first Christian church and a Roman domus beneath it were discovered during restoration of the Cathedral following damage incurred in the Se-cond World War.
The spaces in the Roman residence, which dates bet-ween the end of the republican period and the first centuries of the Empire, extend over the area toward the church’s eastern edge, and were discovered while excavating the crypt. The floors of the oldest portion are built in a cement conglomerate; a cocciopesto (lime mortar) with mosaic tiles forming geometric designs. The more recent floors are simple mosaics with black and white tiles. Hypocaust flooring, used to heat the rooms, shows the advanced features of life in the domus. In the course of the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, the church complex was changed significantly: a large space with an apse was added, potentially to function as a meeting space for the first Christians (domus ecclesiae). The Christian basilica, built between the end of the 4th and the start of the 5th century, has three naves in plan, each with two arcades of ten columns each and a semicircular apse, discovered during the crypt excavations. A part of the ancient coloured mosaic flooring bears the names of two members of the first Christian community, who contributed to the construction of the basilica that was destined in to become the new city Cathedral in the Middle Ages, composed of three apses and five naves.

View of the excavation area (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archeological Heritage)

View of the excavation area (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archeological Heritage)

Coloured mosaic with inscription (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archeological Heritage)

Coloured mosaic with inscription (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archeological Heritage)