Domitian's Stadium in Rome


Domitian's Stadium

Domitian's StadiumIn the last years of the 1st century after Christ, the south eastern area of the Palatino hill sees the construction of the large quarter of the Domizianei palaces with the complexes of the "Stadium of Domiziano", of the "Domus Flavia" and of the "Domus Augustana".

The arena, wanted by the Imperator Domiziano in 86 after Christ to welcome the Greek athletic games that, together with the musical and equestrian games, were making part of the "certamen capitolinum" in the honour of Giove, could welcome up to 30000 spectators, extending itself on a length of 275 metres and a width of roughly 106 metres. As it is documented by some numismatics evidences, the area intended for the games did not forecast a central spine and the floor plan of the complex was not changed, not even after the restorations which took place under the empire of Alessandro Severo.
According to what has been possible to reconstruct, the aspect of the stadium of Domiziano must have been really grandioso with a fašade in travertine characterised by arches on pillars and ionic semi-columns, a development of internal sections in masonry with stairs and passageways to reach the terraces, two entrances in the arena at the centre of the long sides and another one on the curved side and a rich and large sculpture decoration.
Nowadays the area where was antiquely located the stadium of Domiziano is occupied by Piazza Navona which exactly copies the perimeter, so that it can practically claim to have the same dimensions and the same curve towards north; it is still possible to see the pre existing roman structure in the foundations of some edifices, as well as in the undergrounds of the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone.

Roma by Filippo Coarelli printed by Guide archeologiche Laterza
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