Honorary epigraph

Assicurazioni Generali excavations 1902-1904

Frameless white marble slab finely inscribed with engraved letters painted in red. The text is a dedication to the emperor Caracalla, offered after the German victory, when he was hailed imperator for the third time. About half of the area of the inscription was later chiselled and re-purposed for another use, as evidenced by the hole drilled in the centre.

213 A.D. approximately

Fragment of slab with athlete figure

Assicurazioni Generali excavations 1902-1904

The fragment of white marble slab is engraved with the figure of a naked winning athlete whose right hand lifts the prize, perhaps a bag full of coins. At the top right a letter has been preserved, most likely what remains of the name of the personality eulogised.

Roman Imperial Age

The evolution of the block

"The earth conquers all and it is with the earth that the archaeologist primarily has to deal with, as if he were a farmer of history ... usually we go forward, which is the direction of life to which we are accustomed. It is indeed arduous to follow the opposite direction ... so that the inquirer is forced to go back unnaturally into the unknown. But in order to use destruction to the benefit of reconstruction we must sharpen our wits, like someone who has lost something and must retrace the day at reversed times and places.“
Andrea Carandini


During the excavations that took place between 1902 and 1904 the archaeologist Giuseppe Gatti found, 7 meters below the road surface, the traces of an insula – a multi-storey building consisting of several apartments – built between the end of the second and the beginning of the third century AD. The large building was adjacent to one of the most important areas for Rome's public life. It is likely that craftsmen and merchants’ shops were located on the lower floor. On the side facing present-day Via Cesare Battisti, the insula overlooked a road that led to a public space paved with flagstones. On Piazza Venezia's side, the building faced a public road bordered by almost 2-metre-high travertine cairns. On this side a path led to the large Trajan Forum and historiated Column.

Fragment of tympanum

Assicurazioni Generali excavations 1902-1904

White marble angular fragment of a gable, perhaps belonging to a small pediment of a funerary monument. It is decorated with a Medusa head, her mouth slightly open and wide-eyed, wings unfolding on either side, and plant motifs underneath./p>

Third century A.D.

Fragmentary female statuette

Assicurazioni Generali excavations 1902-1904

The small white marble statue is missing part of the torso and about half of the legs. The figure is dressed in the Greek manner with Doric peplos, cinched at the waist by a belt. It is a decorative sculpture inspired by the masterpieces of Greek sculpture of the fifth century BC.

I-II century A.D.

Fragment of capital

Assicurazioni Generali excavations 1902-1904

Fragment of white marble Ionic capital. Little more than half of the pulvinus has been preserved, decorated with acanthus leaves and tightened in the middle by the balteus.

End II - Early third century A.D.

The floor plan on the large table in the middle of the room reconstructs the area of ancient Rome where the building of Assicurazioni Generali is located, which is the area where the exhibits on the table were found. Suspended above it, a large rectangular structure holds drawings of the façades of the buildings shown in the floor plan underneath. Therefore, it is as if the archaeological finds were unearthed by lifting the base of the buildings of a huge scale 1:100 model of this part of town.

This theatrical installation is designed to tell visitors the story of what actually happened: the digging for the foundations of the palace in Piazza Venezia unearthed archaeological finds, which were part of an insula, a multi-storey building consisting of many apartments, which used to be in the same block where the Assicurazioni Generali building now stands.