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In the 11th century the ruins were converted into two churches and houses, with the theatre's old plan remaining visible.Around 1150 the powerful Orsini family bought all buildings on the site of the theatre and transformed them into a large fortress.The image also shows a remaining substructure arch that originally would have supported the media and summa caveae.With all of this said, Piranesi seems to have been basing his drawings largely on what he could imagine, as in the legend for "A Demonstration of the Current Remains of the Theatre of Pompey", he explicitly mentions that these etchings illustrate what the theatre would look like if modern structures were removed from the site (protratta secondo il giro delle moderne fabbriche situate sullo rovine della medesima).
The senate would often use this building along with a number of temples and halls that satisfied the requirements for their formal meetings.
Piranesi specifically notes that four of the large doors (vomitoria) through which spectators would have entered the complex were still preserved.
However, much of the height of the building had long ago been stripped away.
Deep within the recesses of basements and wine cellars of building located in the Campo de' Fiori, arches and fragments of the theatre's walls and foundations can still be seen."A Demonstration of the Current Remains of the Theatre of Pompey" (left) and "The Remains of the Theatre of Pompey" (right), both by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.
These rather imaginative engravings show what the theatre would have looked like in the mid-18th century, were the buildings built on top of the ruin to have been removed.century.
Enclosed by the large columned porticos was an expansive garden complex of fountains and statues.