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Rome hotel reveals ruins of ancient Porticus Minucia

Discovery sheds new light on the exact location of the Porticus Minucia.

A newly-discovered part of an ancient Roman site where free grain was distributed to Romans until the third century AD has been unveiled in the basement of a luxury hotel in the centre of Rome.

The excavatation and restoration of part of the Porticus Minucia Frumentaria was carried out by Rome's archaeological superintendency and financed by Finint Investments in a public-private venture.

Archaeologists made the important discovery in the summer of 2020 during renovation works to convert Palazzo Lares Permarini into a five-star hotel for the Radisson Collection.

Digital reconstruction of the Porticus Minucia Frumentaria. Image courtesy Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma.

 

The building is on Via delle Botteghe Oscure, just across the street from the Crypta Balbi underground museum - temporarily closed - that traces more than 2,000 years of Roman history.

Built in the first century AD, the Porticus Minucia Frumentaria was a vast colonnaded quadriporticus designed to distribute free grain to working-class Romans or plebians.

Digital reconstruction of the Porticus Minucia Frumentaria. Image courtesy Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma.

 

The modern-day location of the ancient Roman site is between Via delle Botteghe Oscure and Corso Vittorio Emanuele, near the area sacra at Largo Argentina.

The discovery sheds new light on the eastern boundary of the site, whose location was known thanks to the ancient Forma Urbis map of Rome and notes made by the celebrated Italian archaeologist Guglielmo Gatti during the construction of Palazzo Lares Permarini in the 1930s.

The newly-discovered portion of the Porticus Minucia Frumentaria at Palazzo Lares Permarini. Image courtesy Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma.

 

However the archaeological superintendency says it is now possible to "reconstruct the appearance of the Porticus Minucia in an extremely reliable way, as has never happened before."

"Rome never ceases to offer surprises", archaeological superintendent Daniela Porro told reporters on Tuesday, paying tribute to Finint Investments for funding not just the dig but also the display of the finds "to make them accessible to all and not waste the precious excavation and study work of the archaeologists".

Mosaic details from the Porticus Minucia Frumentaria at Palazzo Lares Permarini. Image courtesy Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma.

 

The discovery, which includes mosaics and decorative marble elements, is set to be made accessible to the public, under certain conditions, in addition to guests of the 86-room hotel which will open officially on 28 March.

All images courtesy Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

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Address Via delle Botteghe Oscure, 46, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome hotel reveals ruins of ancient Porticus Minucia

Via delle Botteghe Oscure, 46, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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Marymount - International School Rome
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia