PIAZZA DEL COMUNE, Civic Museum Forum

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Every town and city in Italy is steeped in history and art, and often what is not visible at first sight is hidden away underground. The Museum under Piazza del Comune is a fascinating experience, offering you the chance to walk among remains and fragments of ancient history. A few steps will take you down to the Roman Forum Museum, with robust columns supporting striking vaults. This is the underground Romanesque chapel of the church of San Nicolò “de Platea”, meaning “in the square”, in this case the Roman Forum. Here you’ll find capitals, sarcophagi, inscriptions and funeral monuments, some of them particularly interesting.

Many funeral urns are illustrated with scenes from everyday life and of the professions of the deceased. Don’t miss the one with the father lying on a bed, in a pose as if he was eating; on important occasions, the Romans would eat reclining on a bed. You’ll see he is offering a gift to his wife, seated next to him, while their little boy is trying to reach for his dead parent. And if you want to discover more, you’ll find panels with explanations and reconstructions that can help understand a world long gone.

The surprises are not over, however: a long corridor, where a modern glass walkway allows you to see the original paving, flanked by other findings from the past, will take you to a large section of paving from the Roman age.


Now press pause and go to the splendid “room of the vaults”, which will take you right into the Ancient Roman Forum.


Look for the foundations of the temples: in one, even the door has been preserved. Observe the bases of civil basilicas with the podium for the magistrates, and a monumental cistern to provide water to the public fountains. If you follow the explanations on the signs carefully, you’ll even be able to spot the “tabernae”, the taverns where people used to meet and eat before going about their business again, or simply strolling up and down the Forum.

For a better idea of what this area used to look like, take a look at the 1:50 scale model of the Temple of Minerva and the Forum.


Let me leave you with an interesting fact: when the medieval square was created, the Roman buildings were destroyed and buried. That’s why they’re now five meters below ground level.

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