Volterra Teatro Romano, Cavea and Frons ScenaeVolterra Roman Theater, Amphitheater and Stage Wall
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Situated about 50 km. southwest of Florence in Tuscany, the city of Volterra has a long history stretching back to antiquity, when it was a major Etruscan center known as Velathri. By the third century, B.C.E., the city, now called Volaterrae, had fallen into the Roman sphere of influence. Just north of the city gates, an amphitheater and a large complex of baths provide evidence of Roman imperial culture in Volterra. This image details remains of the Teatro Romano, begun in the early part of the first century, B.C.E., financed by the Caecina family and dedicated to the emperor Augustus. It shows the frons scenae, the stage wall separating the performance area from the space where actors would prepare for their next entrance onstage, and the cavea, or semicircular, open-air seating area for the audience with arched entryways at three levels. The frons scenae is decorated with two tiers of columns capped with Corinthian capitals and fashioned from Carrara marble; Montecatini stone faces the steps leading to the seats in the cavea (itenera scalaria). The area of the Roman theater and baths had become a rubbish heap during the Medieval period of the city's history. They were completely buried until excavations were begun in 1951 by the Volterran archeologist Enrico Fiumi. The amphitheater is now used for poetry readings and music concerts.December 1986
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