The Cryptoporticus
The Inn at The Roman Forum

From 50 B.C. around 14 A.D.

The Cryptoporticus, a structure formed by two galleries with arcades and colonnades, was erected in the Roman period of the VI Regio Augustea, on the border between the Suburra district and the Imperial Forums. La Suburra was one of the most populous areas of ancient Rome, and was famous for being an infamous area, with low-quality homes, often built in wood.
Prince Augustus then built massive stone walls to isolate his forum from the fires that periodically raged over this neighborhood.

The Cryptoporticus was therefore brought to light in 1887. Since then we have no significant studies on this monument, which is however considered a treasure of ancient Rome.


An architectural reconstruction of the Cryptoporticus

The internal gallery, on the contrary, was built on the Viminale hill. The external walls, the columns and the vault were decorated with frescoes and stuccos, the remains of which remain and can be admired on the magnificent architrave above the columns, with stucco decorations. These decorations were made with a light colored base (possibly white) to better reflect the light. Remains of the paintings on the vault remain preserved in the Dominican boarding school area, a building dating back to the early 17th century (located in Via degl’Ibernesi 20), and it shows some red striped panels on a white base and finished with small floral motifs.

The history of the CRYPTOPORTIC and the result of the excavations

The cryptoporticus, in the part visible to us, is made up of four adjoining buildings, consisting of two galleries covered by barrel vaults and separated by a colonnade. The outermost gallery, formed by arches, formerly led to a road, discovered in 1878, which connected Via degl’Ibernesi to the adjacent Via Baccina.

The original monument was built between 50 B.C. and 14 A.D .. Inside the property of "The Inn at the Roman Forum", the upper galleries are still preserved. The porch, in fact, was not arranged on a single floor, but on three levels, most likely also four, which reached the current garden of the fourth floor of The Inn in height.

The monumental facade was not placed parallel to the road, but in a somewhat diagonal position. It is therefore clear that the structure of the latter followed the physiognomy of the hill on which it itself rests, thus favoring a passage from the road to the top of the hill through an internal staircase (now disappeared, but once accessible through an imposing stone door placed on the back). This passage also allowed access to a well (easily visible by entering the left part of the Cryptoporticus).