A long-lost private theatre built for the emperor Nero in the middle decades of the first century AD has been found during excavations to turn a Vatican-area palace into a Four Seasons hotel.
While Nero's theatre was long-known from descriptions by Pliny the Elder, its location was unclear. Archaeologists working with the construction crews that are turning the Palazzo della Rovere into a hotel found the remains in a garden area and recognized it from Pliny's descriptions of the marble columns and gold-leaf covered plaster.
In addition to the building itself, many artifacts believed to have belonged to Nero were uncovered, including goblets and containers and head of the two-faced god Janus. As well, later items, believed to have belonged to medieval pilgrims to Rome were found in the site.
The recovered artifacts will go on display later this year, but exact details have not been set. A documentary about the site, Sotto il suolo di Roma (Under the Soil of Rome), will air on national broadcaster RAI in October.