The Lost Theater under the Garden | God's World News
The Lost Theater under the Garden
Time Machine
Posted: November 01, 2023
  • 1 Nero theater
    The excavation site is believed to be the location of the ancient Roman emperor Nero’s theater. (AP/Andrew Medichini)
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    The ruins of Nero’s theater have been discovered under a garden at the site of the future Four Season’s Hotel. (AP/Andrew Medichini)
  • 3 Nero theater
    These medieval artifacts date between the 10th and 14th century. (AP/Andrew Medichini)
  • 4 Nero theater
    A fresco on a wall in the excavation site of the ancient Roman emperor Nero’s theater (AP/Andrew Medichini)
  • 5 Nero theater
    A double-faced Janus head dates to the first century. (AP/Andrew Medichini)
  • 1 Nero theater
  • 2 Nero theater
  • 3 Nero theater
  • 4 Nero theater
  • 5 Nero theater


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You can’t just put a Four Seasons Hotel wherever you want in Rome, Italy. People keep bumping into history.

Ancient texts say Emperor Nero built a theater in the first century. The site has just been found.

Archaeologists have been digging under the walled garden of a palace from the 1400s since 2020. The area was also once covered by the Gardens of Nero. The owners of the space leased it to the hotel to raise money for Christians in the Holy Land.

Nero would never have approved. He started the first severe persecution of Christians by a Roman leader in A.D. 64. (Many Bible scholars think this is around the same time Peter wrote his first epistle.)

Marzia Di Mento is in charge of the site. She told CNN, “It is a superb dig, one that every archaeologist dreams of.”

Many of the dig’s treasures were used between the 10th and 14th centuries. Finds include glass goblets, cooking pots, coins, and more. But items like stamped bricks and a carved stone head date to Nero’s time.

Objects easy to move will go to a museum. The theater ruins will be covered again after all studies are done.

Plans are for the Four Seasons Hotel to be ready in time for the Vatican’s 2025 Jubilee. As many as 30 million Catholics will flock to Rome.

You may have heard the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” In Nero’s day, people didn’t just love to go to the theater. They also taught there were many gods. They even believed the emperor was a god. Who refused to do as the Romans did?

Christians. That includes some of your Bible heroes, Peter and Paul.

Why? Finding sites described in ancient texts helps us better understand history. This site in Rome gives us a glimpse into the world of the early Christians and those they lived among.

For more about theater and plays, see The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson in our Recommended Reading.