A delightful discovery was recently unearthed beneath Palazzo Vecchio. During the renovation of the foyer and the new ticket office for the ancient Roman theatre preserved inside, a never-before-seen passageway was uncovered. This specific type of corridor was known in ancient Roman times as the ‘vomitorium,’ allowing fans to exit the stadium and allowed actors access on and off stage during performances. Water supply wells were also found among the theatre ruins, plunging 10 meters beneath the present level of Florence.
The 1st century Florentine ancient Roman theatre is certainly not the most famous part of Palazzo Vecchio, and remains relatively unknown even to Florentines. The theatre was first opened to the public after its discovery in the 19th century, and contemporary visitors can view it with the purchase of a ticket. The theatre was initially constructed in the 1st century CE, but remained a strong influence on Florence during the imperial age, when it was renovated to fit around 10 to 15 thousand people. Although the theatre’s primary excavation took place between 2004 and 2010, new projects organized by Tuscany’s governing body of archaeological heritage aim to recapture the essence of this ancient treasure.