Crypta Balbi Tour
The museum is part of a vast complex of buildings and which is, in its turn, in the the colonnaded courtyard, adjoining the theater of Balbus, built by Lucius Cornelius Balbus in 13 BC, the Balbi Crypt.
The complex consists of an entire block enclosed between via of the Botteghe Oscure, via dei Polacchi via dei Delfini and via Caetani which, over the centuries, has seen a variety of uses and settlements:
- in the Roman age urbanization it was constituted by the Balbi Crypt, from the houses behind and on the south side of the Porticus Minucia, the remains of which are visible on the other side of via of the Botteghe Oscure.
- in the high medieval age the church-convent of Santa Maria Domine Rose settled in the site, with its garden and its annexes. the houses of via dei Delfini date back to the Middle Ages. during the Renaissance the convent of Santa Caterina settled here with an adjoining conservatory (ie orphanage).
- still existing, the nearby church of St. Stanislaw and the adjoining hospice dei Polacchi date back to the eighteenth century.
The specificity of the Balbi Crypt, in the context of the Roman National Museum, is that of being a museum of urban archeology, researching and documenting the evolution of that space, its settlements and its intended use over the centuries.
Particular attention is given to the findings documenting craft activities (materials, tools, production) held in place in post-classical and early medieval age, emphasizing the continuity of the work and the quality of products, ages generally considered “dark”, between VII and X centuries.
The exhibition aims to show the evolution over time of the assets and settlements, by presenting findings that occurred on site, but also artifacts from other sites, and it’s very accurate and well-documented, from a didactic the point of view, widely describing not only the exhibits on display, but also the historical context to which they refer.
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