This area near to the Colosseum had most probably Republican buildings which were included in Nero’s huge Villa, his Domus Aurea. The whole area was destroyed with the terrible fire of 64 CE. After Nero’s death, the Flavian Family gave back to the Roman Citizens most of the territory by building a public building for spectacles: The Flavian Amphiteatre, aka the Colosseum.
During the first century CE the area next to the Colosseum became an area with Insulas, lofts, and Domitian moved the mint after the fire of 80 CE to this location.
Therefore we have the Eastern side which is most probably either a mint or a warehouse, because the building consists in little rooms with no window or other than one entrance towards the center, where either a courtyard or a central atrium was located.
The western part shows a structure that might have been a villa or an insula, i.e. an apartment building with more floors.
Later some of the rooms of this insula turned into a sanctuary for the worship of
Mithras. The cult of Mithras was a very old pagan religion brought to Rome by the legionaries who came back home from Persia. It was a secret and “saving” religion. The then 3000 years old religion was transformed into a Greek-Roman cult in which its main message was through Mithra who created the Cosmos by tauroctony, slaying a bull.
Location: Via San Giovanni in Laterano / corner Piazza San Clemente
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9-12:30, 15-18 |Sun, Holidays: 12-18
Entrance to Excavations: €5, reduced €3.50