Hidden treasures

The Cryptoporticus of Piazza Duomo in Vicenza

Unknown places & works
criptoportico_vicenza

The Cryptoporticus of Piazza Duomo in Vicenza

Vicenza is famous all over the world for its sixteenth-century monuments by the great architect Andrea Palladio and is a UNESCO heritage site. But Vicenza also boasts a long past, sometimes hidden behind modern buildings.. One of these is the Criptoporticus under Piazza Duomo.

In the architecture of ancient Rome, a cryptoporticus was a corridor or a covered passage, either at ground level or a basement, which supported a structure such as a square or a villa, and used as a non-exposed service corridor.

In the summer of 1954, during the construction works of the canonical building of the cathedral of Vicenza, along the southern side of Piazza Duomo, builders came across a compact structure, much harder than soil and the surrounding gravel, and it seemed to be a fragment of flooring. In delimiting the structure they realized that beneath it seemed to be empty. With the help of a torch they managed to see what looked like a short tunnel, just beneath the surface of the ground. It was only during the cleaning and consolidation work that the true nature of the structure was discovered: a cryptoporticus dating back to the Roman era.

The cryptoporticus was part of a Roman house in ruins (but, considering the size of the cryptoporticus, certainly of a rich family), located in the southwest section of the Roman city. It is made up of three channels arranged in a U shape and of a height of about 2.75 meters.

The cryptoporticus received light from 31 small windows placed in the upper part of the interior, most likely where the garden of the peristyle above was. It was accessed by a narrow staircase, partly corresponding to the one still in use, which entered the northern channel. Some areas, for the sophisticated tiling and plaster, were certainly used by the family, while others were used as warehouses and workshops.

Vicenza's Cryptoporticus is open to the public... If you want to include it in your Vicenza tour itinerary, just let your guide know upon booking!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The Church of Santa Croce degli Armeni in Venice

chiesa-di-santa-croce-armeni-venezia
Unknown places & works

The city of Venice has always been cosmopolitan and very tolerant of other religious confessions ... It is no surprise therefore that, ...

View

Treviso: The Molinetto della Croda in Marca Trevigiana

molinetto-croda
Unknown places & works

Marca Trevigiana (this is how the area around the city of Treviso has been referred to since the 13th century) is an area rich in art a...

View

Venice: Doge Pietro Tradonico and the Island of Poveglia in the Venice lagoon

poveglia-venezia
Historical Curiosities

The Island of Poveglia, in the Venice lagoon, is considered by paranormal experts as one of the world’s most haunted places, normally...

View

Padua: The Castle of Catajo

catajo
Historical Curiosities

Cities in the Italian Veneto region are full of history and fascinating monuments... But the countryside surrounding them reserves just...

View

Top posts

Treviso: Roncade Castle

castello-roncade
Unknown places & works

For most visitors, including lovers of art, Veneto is the region of the Villas, fairy-tale holiday destinations and farmhouses, which h...

View

Padua: The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Padua

teatro-anatomico-padova
Unknown places & works

The University of Padua, founded in 1222, is one of the most important symbols of culture in Italy... There are lots of places to disco...

View

Verona: Juliet’s balcony in Verona

balcone-giulietta-verona
Big Names

When visiting the beautiful city of Verona, Casa di Giulietta - the house of Juliet, the character immortalized by William Shakespeare ...

View

Venice: The empty tomb in San Michael cemetery in Venice

Cimitero_Venezia
Mysteries & Legends

The small island in the Venice lagoon that can be seen when heading to Murano houses the Venice cemetery, founded during the 19th centu...

View