Location: Via Paris
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Built at the western limits of the city of Interamnia (or Interamna) Praetut(t)iorum, just outside the republican walls, the theater was probably inaugurated in the very first years of the 1st century AD, as suggested by the marble portions that covered the front stage bearing the honorary inscriptions for Lucio and Gaius Caesar, the adopted sons of Augustus, who died prematurely in the years 2 and 4 AD.


The building, with a diameter of almost 77 meters, could hold approximately 2,500 spectators comfortably seated or even 3,000 in exceptional cases by occupying all the service spaces and the paths in the building around it. The typology of the architectural-functional system is inspired by the Latin model described by Vitruvius, with radial wall partitions interrupted by galleries and ambulatories that were positioned concentrically with the orchestra (semicircular space in front of the stage), the generative element of the entire system. The construction technique and the materials used are linked to cultural models from the end of the Republican age, the typology and architecture to the Augustan age, the characters and composition styles of the frons scaenae (The front stage wall) to the 1st century AD.


The load-bearing construction model was designed with modular overlapping vaulted systems: the external annular ambulatory on pillars, arches and cross vaults; the substructures of the summa cavea (highest part of the theatre) on radial partitions with rampant truncated cone vaults. The ima and media cavea (lowest part of the theatre) are in part on regularizations of the natural profile, in part on an embankment of cement conglomerate.


The first seats of the ima cavea, which were reserved for the most prominent Roman families, had numbers engraved on the stone slabs of the steps.


The fan-shaped orchestra radiated six itinera scalaria (access stairs) that defined five cuneiform sectors of the ima cavea, divided by ring-shaped paths separating one area from another (the maeniana) that partitioned the ima, media and summa cavea. The top closing praecinctio (walkway) could be a portico or, perhaps, a simple gallery (the so-called "'pigeon" house) which crowned the architecture. The proscaenium (front part of the stage) alternated curvilinear, rectangular niches covered with ancient yellow African marble slabs, Marmor Sagrium (Roman marble) and pavonazzetto (type of marble). The frons scaenae (the back wall of the stage) closed the complex, on the diameter of the semi-circle with an architecture of superimposed orders designed and divided into styles of grooved columns on Attic bases and embellished with marble life-sized statues, like the stunning iconic female statue in the Civic Archaeological Museum. The first architectural order of the scenographic backstage, on the stage, was characterized by a large central exedra with the valva regia, the main door where illustrious people entered the scene, and by two lateral hospitales (doors). The actors entered the scene from valvae by walking down three steps. The external architecture was characterized by two orders of overlapping arches in opus quadratum (ancient Roman construction technique) of blocks of travertine. The inferior architectural order, with Doric metope friezes and triglyphs which can be admired from via Paris, almost next to the amphitheater, constituted the external closure on the ground floor of the theater. It had the porticus of access (ambulacrum) to the summa cavea through the five ramps of stairs of the vomitory, alternated on twenty-one radial dividing walls that split the external façade into modular regulators. The external monumental layout, with the three superimposed architectural orders (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian), two galleries for walking and the crowning tambour, is conceived and designed on the supporting structure of the steps of the summa cavea, built with radial dividing walls of sandstone gypsum stone blocks, with masonry infill in irregular work. The second order, or level, constituted the intermediate ring-shaped deambulacrum (promenade) which could reach the media cavea through alternating flights of stairs on the lower ones. The ima cavea and orchestra could be reached from the eastern parodos (side entrance to the stage), along a paved walkway. This was used as access for the most prominent families in political, economic and social life. They occupied the first seats marked on the supporting structure of the steps of the summa cavea made with radial partitions of stone blocks of gypsum-arenite, with infill of masonry in uncertain work. The media and summa cavea, in the Interamnia theatre could also be reached directly from the outside through the intermediate praecinctio (a walkway between the lower and upper tiers of seats) on the western side on higher terraced parts. This side of the building was built partially with retaining walls, under the rear terrace, where, between the end of the 1st and the beginning of the 2nd century AD, the most spectacular ancient building was built almost next to it: the amphitheater.

Traduzione: classe 3BLL del Liceo linguistico statale Giannina Milli

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