An extraordinary monument ...beneath visitors' feet
When is it open:
see the "to find out more" section at the bottom of the page
What's not to be missed:Â a tour
between the pillars, along the ancient galleries
Where is it:Â Piazza
Giovanni XXIII (the cathedral)
Why? â€¦ Because it's worth it:Â
impressive architecture hidden in the ground
From the garden in Piazza Giovanni XXIII you can access the Criptoportico Forense Forum, a monumental building that marked an area dedicated to religion. It is an underground building, with an elegantly plastered interior illuminated by lightwells. The building developed in a horse-shoe shape and was built with a double corridor, with beamed vaults supported by pillars.
The specific use of the monument has been widely debated (from the Augustan
era); his main aim was to erect a building to contain and stabilise the ground which, in that area, was subsiding between the sacred area and the adjacent legal plateau. As well as having a support function, it is thought the semi-underground part was also used as a warehouse and army granary, while the probable marble columns overhead (now destroyed - missing archaeological proof)
framed the temples in the sacred area. As some medieval maps appear to document, the Criptoportico buildings continued to be used in the centuries that followed.