In Rome, construction for a new Four Seasons hotel near the Vatican revealed an ancient theater whose location was previously unknown to archaeologists.
Nero’s Theatre was found during excavations close to St Peter's Square.
This legendary theater was built by Emperor Nero, who was in power from 54-64 AD and was only known from ancient texts, not from archaeological findings. Now, that has changed.
Theatrum Neronis has been mentioned in several ancient Roman sources though it has never been found. Archaeologists in Rome have hailed this discovery as crucial, giving life to ancient texts.
Ancient theater facilities had similar amenities to those of today
Excavations found a semi-circle-shaped seating area complete with columns and intricate gold decorations. Several rooms were found and were believed to be what performers would now call "backstage" - where costumes and settings were stored.
The discovery was made during excavations under Palazzo della Rovere's walled garden. This project began in 2020 as officials planned to renovate the frescoed Renaissance building.
Other artifacts found included a series of precious first-century AD pieces such as a two-faced Roman head of Janus, rare examples of 10th-century glass-colored goblets, and Middle Age-era pieces such as a crucifix and rosary beads.