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Welcome to Pula!

Big Roman Theatre

The Big Roman Theatre (Theatrum Iulii) from 1st century is placed outside Pula's town walls on the northern hill Monte Zaro. It could host around 4000-5000 visitors. The theatre was 85 meters long and 120 meters wide, the dimension of the orchestra was defined with a diameter of 25 meters. The 32-meters-high scenic building part had a three-part-roof with a ceramic covering. It had two floors upon decomposed arches and columns decorated with Corinthian capitals. Each floor had another type of marble architraves and chaplets that were different by shape and size. After the collapse of the Roman Empire little is known about this theatre. Its shape and architectural composition were preserved in sketches, descriptions and old chalcography about Pula. Between 15th and 17th century Georg Pfistinger travelled around Istria, from 1436 until 1440 and he mentions it as Palas Rolandi. But the most important information about this theatre is the one of Sebastian Serili in 1536 on an engraving with a reconstruction of a wall of the theatre. On his engraving from 1568 Francesco Camozio named this antique building "rovine antiche" (antique ruins). In 1632 ruins of this monumental building were used by Antoine De Ville in order to build what is today the Castel. Until 1848 there was only one large vault as a testimonial of an antique theatre on that spot. It was present until 1851 when the town municipality let the noble entrepreneur Nazari Aglio, member of the marine, to end up diggings in order to reveal the ruins of the theatre. Unfortunately the only thing Aglio wanted was to get hold of the stone material to use it for building at a very low price. He first threw down the vault, cut the stones and used it immediately as building material.

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