History By Pictures – 6. The Area of the Roman Theatre of Terracina in Middle Ages

In these days, Terracina is witnessing, in an increasingly feverish way, the rediscovery of its ancient theater.
But what happened to this monument with the end of the Roman Empire?

The arrival of the Barbarians (5th century AD) had a devastating impact on the city. The town contracted drastically and the curtain of history fell on the ancient buildings, now devoid of any form of maintenance.


Odoacre, king of the Eruli, the barbarian king who deposed Romulus Augustulus, last emperor of Rome (Credits: skuola.net).


The archaeological stratigraphy of the theatre documents, for this phase, a strong damage that caused its collapse. A thick layer of earth covered the marble and statues. However, life would have continued along its course and from those ashes the medieval landscape of Terracina was born. The northern front of the Foro Emiliano was in fact occupied by a new district, with many roads, some still existing (Via della Palma), others disappeared (Salita Castello and Piazza Urbano II).


Traces of the block that developed on the area of the ancient Roman theatre of Terracina. Some modern houses damaged by the Second World War also survived.


The traces of this new urban block are still partly evident.

Next to the portico of the theater is in fact the tower house of Orazio Migliore (his name is engraved on the lintel of the entrance), dating from the thirteenth century and built on the ruins of the ancient temple of Vicolo Pertinace. The mighty tower house at the beginning of Via della Palma dates back to the 12th century, to which a Gothic domus (the so-called “house with mullioned windows”) is attached.


The gothic domus called “house with mullioned windows”. Dating back to the 13th century A.D., it bears witness to the new medieval quarter that developed over the area of the ancient Roman theatre of Terracina.

It was thanks to these medieval buildings that the structures of the theater were “protected” from the disastrous bombing of World War II and that have come down to the present day.


Posted by Sara Pandozzi

Leave a Reply