At the center of Piazza Stesicoro (Stesicoro square) there is a large trench
that encloses some remains the Roman amphitheatre. From the
end of the last century the square was completely covered. The work
carried out in uncovering the amphitheatre began in 1904. The grandiose Roman monument,
one of the largest in Italy, is almost entirely hidden under modern
constructions but it is visible below the road level. The amphitheatre consists of a “cavea”, an auditorium of 14 terraces divided into three orders with a podium and “ambulatories”
(covered corridors) that allow the access to the terraces arranged on three
levels that corresponded to the two orders of external arches and to the
attic. The external circumference is of 309 meters. It has been calculated estimated it
could contain 15,000 seated spectators and almost the double of them
with the addition of structures for standing spectators.
Dating of the building is still uncertain and is based on dates to the mid
second century B.C. In Theodoric times the monument was already in
an advanced state of abandonment; Roger the Norman used its imposing
structure by stripping it of masonry he needed to building the Cathedral.
Today these blocks can be seen in the external construction of the
cathedral apses accessible from V.Emanuele Street n°159.