Casa Bellezza

Interiors of the domus

The ancient building situated underneath Largo Arrigo VII is known as Casa Bellezza due to the overlying modern building that in the 30s of the 20th century belonged to Maestro Vincenzo Bellezza, the famous Apulian conductor; it was brought to light and partially excavated in the course of a renovation of the modern building in the 50s and subsequently the Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome took measures aimed at the static consolidation and at the restoration of the paintings.

Of the rich Roman domus, lying partly under the modern construction, partly under its garden and, in a lesser part, under the road (about 10 metres below), still exant are a portion of the basement and traces of some rooms of its upper floor. The remains currently consist of two frescoed rooms which open onto a cryptoporticus; a third environment, certainly painted as well, is still underground and has not been unearthed due to the static problems of the modern building above.

The cryptoporticus, of which only the main part remains, is covered with a barrel vault and has white-plastered walls (although originally it was decorated with paintings) and was lit by means of large openings in the vault, walled up during the modern renovations. The environments opening onto the cryptoporticus, of rectangular shape and with segmental vaults, are painted with frescoes and paved with coloured stones. The central room, along one of the two long sides, the northern one, is provided, with a row of four ionic columns coated with stucco, to which must have corresponded an analogous row on the opposite side.

On the upper floor, it has been surveyed that three walls perfectly overlap those of the southern room of the lower floor. From the upper floor some architectural elements, such as fragments of peperino columns, were issued, allowing us to conjecture the existence of a columned portico corresponding to the underlying cryptoporticus.