The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient theater in Rome, built at the behest of Julius Caesar in the southern area of Campo Marzio, between the Tiber River and the Campidoglio.
Julius Caesar wanted a theater to rival the one built in Campo Marzio by Pompey. For this purpose, a large area was expropriated, and many buildings were demolished. At the death of Caesar, only the foundations had been laid, and the work was resumed by Augustus, who raised a building larger than originally planned.
The first use of the building for performances dates back to the year 17 BC. In 13 BC, the theatre was officially inaugurated, and dedicated to Marcus Claudius Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus.
A first restoration of the theatre took place under Vespasian, in the first century AD, and other restorations were made under Severus Alexander, in the third century.
In medieval times, the area was gradually occupied by small buildings and the theatre was turned into a fortified castle.
The original height of the building was approximately 32.60 meters, while its diameter was about 111 meters, and it could hold up to 20,000 spectators.
The travertine facade has three orders, the two lower ones with the arches framed by an order of Doric semicolumns, with Tuscan capitals and no base. The two lower orders are separated by a band with prominences in correspondence of the semicolumns, which acts as a string course. The attic on the third floor, of which only a few traces remain, appeared instead as a continuous wall and was decorated with Corinthian pilasters.
The cavea (the seating section) was divided into a lower part, an intermediate part, accessible from the second floor, and an upper part, accessible via stairs from the last floor.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest Metro station is Circo Massimo, about 1.3 kilometers away, on the Metro Line B. The closest bus station is Teatro Marcello/Aracoeli, located about 180 meters away, on the bus Lines 30, 44, 44F, 51, 63, 81, 83, 85, 87, 118, 130F, 160, 170, 628, 715, 716 and 781.