Location: Via Vincenzo Irelli, 13

Between the end of the 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd century AD, between the Antonine and the Severan period, the Roman city of Interamnia (o Intermana) Praetut(t)iorum had, in addition to the theatre built in the Augustan Age, the most spectacular monumental building in the Roman world: the amphitheatre.


It is located between via Paris and via San Berardo, right next to the cathedral. The imposing brickwork walls above us are the ones of the outer perimeter of the majestic building. Oriented north-south, it measures almost 74 metres on the main axis and 56 metres on the minor axis and it could hold about 3,500 spectators with a full house. It was built outside the western walls, on the urban terrace which is further upstream from the promontory. It is close to the existing theatre and was inaugurated the very first years of the 1st century AD. It represents the last great urban addition to Interamnia before the crisis of the Empire. This is in the most monumental area of the city near the western gate. It was the first thing seen by people arriving from Sabina, from Rome, when taking the Via Salaria Antica to Interocrium (now Antrodoco), from the Via Caecilia on the Apennine pass just after Amiternum and finally the Interamnium Vorsus when going towards the Adriatic coast. After having crossed the monumental suburban necropolis located in the Cona area, wayfarers and rich merchants from the capital, would prepare to enter the city with the majestic view of the amphitheatre and theatre in the background: the most magnificent public buildings in the ancient world. People coming from Piceno, from the nearby Asculum, would find these buildings just in front of them on the right, at the beginning of the decumanus maximus, before reaching the heart of Interamnia: the forum, near the current piazza Verdi.


The building is made entirely in brickwork (opus latericium) on cement foundations (opus caementicium). The external façade, which is almost 12 metres high, is characterized by simple offsets sloping upwards which design a powerfully-built architecture of buildings with overlapping tambours, crowned with light pilasters. The main axis, oriented north-south, is nearly 74 metres while the minor one is less than 54. In the square between via Irelli and via Ciotti, you can admire one of the two main entrances structured with three arches, with the central one being taller and having greater light. These entrances allowed access to processions and parades when there were games and gladiatorial shows. On via San Berardo it is possible to see the remains of one of the two entrances on the minor axis which led to the lowest sectors of the ima and media cavea (seating section). The summa cavea (highest section) could be reached through double flights of external stairs, jutting out from the perimeter. Little legible evidence of this can be seen between via Paris and via Irelli, on the great opening which is of architectural perspective of the second order. The arena and most of the lower structures of the cavea were almost completely levelled during the construction of the current building of the Aprutino Seminary towering above. The large building for shows was partially demolished and looted between the end of the 12th and 13th centuries during the construction of the new cathedral. On the left side of the Duomo, there are portions of large continuous friezes with gladiatorial weapons walled up. This might have represented the monumental entrance to the north on the decumanus maximus (main east-west-oriented road).


Traduzione: classe 3BLL del Liceo linguistico statale Giannina Milli

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