The Crypta Balbi museum and the historic layers of Rome

Visiting the Crypta Balbi museum, a seat of the Museo Nazionale Romano, is an informative way to realize how Rome has developed over its ancient buildings and left material traces of its thousand-year old transformation in the urban layering.

One of the pilasters dating to the imperial period and belonging to the Theatrum Balbi portico, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Part of the Crypta Balbi accessible after the excavations: one of the pilasters dating to the imperial period and belonging to the Theatrum Balbi portico has been restored with a metal mesh. Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

The museum collections illustrate the history of the ancient complex of the Crypta Balbi within the city of Rome from the Antiquity throughout the following centuries. The Crypta Balbi was a large porticoed courtyard annexed to the Theatrum Balbi, the theatre built by Lucius Cornelius Balbus the younger and dedicated in 13 BC. Part of the ancient buildings is accessible to visitors: the pavement and the wall of the portico dating to the imperial period, late-antique evidences referring to renovations and reuses as well as medieval structures belonging to the later chiesa di Santa Maria Domine Rose are visible at the lowest-level of the museum.

Painted ceramic vases and clay jars, between mid-16th century and beginning of the 17th century, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Painted ceramic vases and clay jars, coming from the the daily life of the Crypta Balbi area, between mid-16th century and beginning of the 17th century, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi. In the beginning of the 17th century, the Crypta Balbi area was altered by the appearance of monasteries, hospices, palaces and houses for rent, therefore losing its original character as a commercial and aristocratic residence area.

The archaeological excavations, begun around 1981, have investigated the life of this urban district and have discovered the precious incoming commodities and artistic handicrafts flourished in Rome, especially in that particular period of transition around the Late Antiquity, when the Western Roman Empire dissolved and Rome transformed its appearance entering the Early Middle Ages.

Many items discovered in an archaeological deposit dating to the 7th century are displayed here alongside other contemporary materials coming from the historical collections of several Roman institutions.

Golden ring with gem from imperial times,Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Golden ring with gem from imperial times, dating ca. between the end of the 7th and the beginning of the 8th century AD, coming from Nerva’s Forum, ‪Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

Accessories discovered in an archaeological deposit dating to the 7th century, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Accessories like rings for head caps, veil and hair pins, earrings, necklace fragments. Luxury items, precious stones and refined tools relating to a nearby workshop (ergasterion) were discovered in an archaeological deposit dating to the 7th century, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

You find it here

Opening time: every day 9.00 am - 7.45 pm. Last admission one hour before closing. Closed Mondays; 25 December; 1 January. The archaeological area of Exedra currently is accessible during weekends only to groups of maximum 20 visitors accompanied by a staff member of the museum at following hours: 10.45 am - 11.45 am - 12.45 am - 2.45 pm - 3.45 pm - 4.45 pm (from the last Sunday of October till 15 February the last entrance is at 3.45 pm).

Tickets: 3.50€ - 7.00€

Organization: Soprintendenza Speciale per il Colosseo, il Museo Nazionale Romano e l'Area Archeologica di Roma

Director: Mirella Serlorenzi

Website

Reconstruction of the archaeological context where 360 coins were found in the drain below the latrine, located in the exedra of the Crypta Balbi, once it had stopped being used, at the beginning of the 5th century AD, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Reconstruction of the archaeological context where 360 coins were found among the debris accumulated in the drain below the latrine, located in the exedra of the Crypta Balbi, once it had stopped being used, at the beginning of the 5th century AD. Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Coins from a 7th c. deposit, Byzantine era, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Some of the 460 coins coming from a 7th century deposit at the exedra of the Crypta Balbi, bronze, silver and gold issues of the Byzantine era, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

Reconstructed arches along the archaeological itinerary, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Reconstructed arches along the archaeological itinerary, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

Modern cellars visible along the early medieval street running along the southern wall the porticus Minucia, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Along the street developed between the 7th and the 12th centuries, running along the southern wall the porticus Minucia, equipments of modern cellars are visible, as supports for barrels and terracotta pipes that brought waste water from the upper floors to the cesspools created by piercing the vaults of the ancient cistern. Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

Medieval well visible along the early medieval street running along the southern wall the porticus Minucia, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Medieval well visible along the street developed between the 7th and the 12th centuries, running along the southern wall the porticus Minucia. Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

Stratigraphy of the medieval houses interiors, leaning against the northern perimetral wall of the Crypta Balbi, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Stratigraphy of the medieval houses interiors, leaning against the northern perimetral wall of the Crypta Balbi. Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

Second floor of the Crypta Balbi museum, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi

Second floor of the Crypta Balbi museum, featuring Rome between Late Antiquity to early Middle Ages, Rome‬, Museo Nazionale Romano - Crypta Balbi.

Milestone Rome
Have something to add to our story? Please share it in the comments. We always love hearing from you!
  • WordPress
  • Disqus

Leave a reply

Send this to a friend