Archaeologists made an astonishing discovery in Rome’s Palazzo della Rovere: the long-lost ruins of Nero’s Theater, an imperial theater mentioned in ancient texts but never found. The excavation, which began in 2020 as part of the Renaissance building’s planned renovations, revealed the ancient site hidden beneath the walled garden. Interestingly, the palazzo, situated near the Vatican, houses a Vatican chivalric order that leases the space to raise funds for Christians in the Holy Land.
During a news conference, the governor general of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, confirmed that the Four Seasons Hotel would be the incoming hotel chain. The hotel is expected to be ready for the Vatican’s 2025 Jubilee, drawing an estimated 30 million visitors and pilgrims to Rome.
The archaeological findings are considered “exceptional” as they provide a rare glimpse into Roman history spanning from the Roman Empire to the 15th century. Among the remarkable discoveries were 10th-century glass colored goblets and pottery, shedding light on a lesser-known period in Rome’s past. This exciting revelation promises a fascinating blend of history and luxury at the Four Seasons Hotel, highlighting the rich cultural heritage of the Eternal City.
The site’s chief archaeologist, Marzia Di Mento, made an intriguing observation about the recent excavation. Before this discovery, only seven glass chalices from that era had been uncovered, but now, thanks to the dig, seven more were found, bringing the total to a remarkable fourteen.
The excavation yielded more than just glass chalices; archaeologists also stumbled upon marble columns and gold-leaf adorned plaster. This evidence led them to confidently affirm that they had indeed unearthed Nero’s Theater, a significant location mentioned in ancient texts by Pliny the Elder. The theater’s existence was confirmed, as it was situated just off the Tiber River.
To preserve these valuable antiquities, officials decided to relocate them to a museum. As for the ruins of the theater structure itself, once all studies are completed, they will be carefully covered again for protection and future generations to learn from and appreciate. This extraordinary discovery adds another layer to Rome’s rich history and cultural heritage.