The temple in Via Aureliano Galeazzo


In the course of several excavations in view of construction works, throughout the years between 1983 and 1995, in the western side of the city between Via Aureliano Galeazzo and Corso Cavour, significant remains of masonry structures have been brought to light – only partially damaged by plundering actions from the late-ancient and Medieval ages – relating, in all probability, to a public building of great importance, most likely dating back to the first Roman Era (late 1st century BC – early 1st century AD). The interpretation proposed for this structure at the moment of the discovery – according to which it should be a horreum, that is to say a public warehouse intended for the storage and preservation of food – does not seem to match either the size and architecture of the complex or the rich decoration it was to be equipped with – the remains of which were found in the layers of structural collapse. The decoration shows the extensive use of fine marble (white and coloured, many of which imported from African and Greek quarries) for the construction of frames, wall and floor covering slabs, pilasters and capitals. Based on our present knowledge and given the close spatial interaction the plant probably had with the nearby Forum area (whose remains were found in the neighbouring Corso Cavour), the most realistic interpretation is that it may be a temple.

The portion of the monument brought to light by the excavations is, in fact, a wide section of portico (over 20 metres long), divided into two aisles by a central row of pillars, the foundation plinths of which have been preserved, with a large cobbled area by its side, whose floor level is located approximately 60 cm higher than the portico’s one. In this area there are two small rectangular rooms placed side by side, of the same size (7 x 9 metres), not connected together and probably open towards the cobbled area, that we may perhaps consider as two cells used for worship. The lack of reliable identification data does not allow making any assumptions about the possible dedication of the temple, even if the clear connection with the Forum square and the supposed partition into several cells might suggest the striking recognition in it of a Capitolium, that is to say a shrine dedicated to the Capitoline Triad (Jupiter, Juno, Minerva).