Criptoportico Forense


Useful Information

Location: Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII, Aosta.
(45.738222, 7.317595)
Open: OCT to MAR daily 10-13, 14-17.
APR to SEP daily 9-19.
Last visit 30 minutes before closing.
Closed 25-DEC, 01-JAN.
Tickets available at the Regional Archaeological Museum, the Roman Theater and the Megalithic Area.
[2021]
Fee: Adults EUR 10, Children (0-25) free, Students EUR 8, Seniors (65+) EUR, Disabled free.
Groups (25+): Adults EUR 8.
[2021]
Classification: SubterraneaCryptoporticus
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:
Guided tours: self guided, Max=50.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Criptoportico Forense, Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII, 11100 Aosta AO, Tel: +39-335-798-1505. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History


Description

Criptoportico Forense (Forensic Cryptoporticus) is a horseshoe or U shaped underground passage with barrel vaulted openings in the middle of the passage separating it into two parallel passages. The site is quite exceptional and obviously of Roman origin, and it is located in the middle of the Roman district of the city Aosta, between the Roman theater and the ruins of the Roman city wall and baths. It was dated to the Augustan period.

The cryptoporticus is entered from the garden on Piazza Giovanni XXIII. It once delimited a sacred area dedicated to worship. On top was probably a marble colonnade which has now disappeared, serving as a scenographic frame for the temples of the sacred area.

The cryptoporticus is a basement building with a horseshoe shape. It has a double corridor with barrel vaults supported by sturdy pillars in travertine limestone blocks, finely plastered and illuminated by lancet windows. The land was slightly sloping from north to south and created a difference in height between the sacred area and the adjacent stalls. It was hypothesized that the basement could also have served as a warehouse and military granary. At the end of the Roman Empire, during the 3rd and 4th century, the function changed, perhaps because storage room was required for the goods traded in nearby shops.

During the Middle Ages it was used as a storage area and fractioned into cellars throughout the 19th and up to the early 20th century. In the early 20th century reconditioning and restoration work was carried out by regional supervisor Ernesto Schiaparelli. At this time the entrance which is used today was created. The whole site was refurbished in the early years of the new millennium. Due to the excellent conservation conditions and the visual appeal it became one of the main archaeological sites of Augusta Prætoria.