The Archeological Area of via dell’Abbondanza
The Archeological Area of via dell’Abbondanza was discovered during construction works in 2004 and it was excavated until 2005; the domus was converted into a museum in late August 2015. Now it is open and accessible to the public with an innovative way for the fruition.
Today’s situation is the result of a working project by the Archaeological Superintendence of Marche, the Municipality of Pesaro and Sistema Museo.
It is an example of a noble dwelling from the early Roman imperial period. The owner’s importance and prosperity are expressed both in the position of the domus in the urban pattern, with the main entrance open on the Roman cardo, and in the richness of the decorative apparatus.
Built between the late first century B.C. and the early first century A.D., it was restored several times and continued to be inhabited at least until the early third century A.D.
The planimetry and the architectural scheme appear very regular. The space was organized around the axis that from the entrance passed through the atrium, located beyond the limits of the excavation in the direction of the Cathedral; the entrance reached the peristyle, of which much of the porticoed structure is preserved, with column bases arranged along the inner sides, at the edge of the rainwater collection channels.
On either side of the peristyle there were the rooms reserved for the private life of the family, which were accessed through important mosaic thresholds. The mosaics, all in black and white, are fully preserved and constitute the most fascinating element of the house, thanks to a recent careful restoration work.
Only portions of the frescoes remain at the base of some rooms, but numerous fragments have been found in excavations along with stucco and rare terracotta decorations.
The construction of the thermal bath documented by the hypocaust room on suspensurae, obtained by excavating one of the original rooms of the domus, which had long since been abandoned, dates to the fifth century AD.
Equipped with non-invasive technologies, the itinerary was designed to offer visitors an informative but at the same time scientific approach. Finds unearthed during the excavation have been musealized within two showcases dedicated to the Roman period and the Medieval and Renaissance phases.
There are exposed ceramics, oil lamps and objects from everyday life. Prominent in importance is the head of a small sleeping Eros in terracotta.
Great impact is entrusted to the virtual route, a true unprecedented in the Marche region: on the reinforced concrete walls of the building, three-dimensional reconstructions of the ancient rooms of the domus are projected, allowing visitors to imagine how daily life was carried out and it allows to ‘immerse’ themselves in the atmosphere of the Pisaurum of Roman times.
The itinerary for people with visual impairments offers braille panels and tactile models; this part of the project was developed in collaboration with the scientific team of the State Tactile Museum ‘Omero’ in Ancona.
Between 2017 and 2018, due to the influx of visitors and problems with the conservation of the mosaics, which require constant monitoring and maintenance, the Archaeological Superintendence, Belle Arti and Paesaggio of the Marche region found it necessary to establish a compulsory itinerary to avoid the treadling on the floors and at the same time to encourage the viewing of the street, partially obstructed by the height of the back wall of the Domus, and the thermal baths. The new itinerary consists of a 22-meter-long footbridge made of painted metal structure and glass walking surface, which allows, in two sections, access to the peristyle, the vitrines and the thermal baths.
With the first short section it is possible to reach directly from the entrance the peristyle, improving the transit and visibility conditions of the entrance to the area, instead with the second section moves from the peristyle along the back wall approaching the two central showcases and admiring the paved road thanks to the elevation, until reaching the space in front of the thermal baths with its panels. In fact, the itinerary was designed to allow the existing educational supports to be enjoyed without removing them.
The walkway is designed to harmonize itself with the context as much as possible
Therefore, light forms and materials were chosen, with glass walkway tops, cable railings, and tone-on-tone colors in relation to the mosaic flooring, as has been well experienced in many recently musealized indoor areas.
The project was carried out with ordinary ministerial funds specially requested by the Superintendence as part of the annual maintenance work on archaeological areas; design and construction supervision were entirely carried out by internal staff of SABAP Marche.
See historical and conservation details www.pesarocultura.it
Top image ph Alessandro Giampaoli
Gallery images Archaeological Superintendence – ph Bruno Mariotti CH+