The Crypta Balbi is the most recent of the seats of the National Roman Museum.
Inaugurated in 2001, Crypta Balbi stands on the area of the archaeological excavations that have brought to light the portico of the theater of Lucio Balbo, which gives the complex its name, as well as the finds related to the life of the block, which outline the history of the landscape urban from antiquity to the Middle Ages.
The uniqueness of the Crypta Balbi museum, which is spread over two floors, is given by the fact that it stands on the same archaeological area. The museum, set up in the restored rooms of the building complex built from the Middle Ages on the Crypta di Balbo, is divided into two sections that illustrate, respectively, the transformations of a central sector of the urban landscape from antiquity to the twentieth century and the evolution of city culture between the 5th and 9th centuries.
On the ground floor, the archeology and history of the Balbo complex and the nearby Porticus Minucia Frumentaria where wheat was distributed to citizens, with a diachronic vision of urban history from the Roman age to the twentieth century. The first floor is dedicated to the most recent archaeological investigations that have brought to light a complex of residential buildings outside the Crypta Balbi, built after a fire in 80 AD. it had devastated the area. The buildings, houses and shops underwent many transformations until their final abandonment in the 7th century AD.
The second floor illustrates the transformations of the city from the 4th to the 9th century, with insights into the aspects of material and artistic culture. This story was made possible thanks to the large quantity and variety of the finds recovered from the excavations, as well as from the materials coming from other archaeological investigations carried out in Rome and from historical collections of Roman museums.
In the basement it is possible to visit the archaeological remains found in the cellars of the buildings in via delle Botteghe Oscure. In the external archaeological area it is possible to visit the remains of the wash house of the Convent of Santa Caterina, the exedra of the Crypta Balbi and the neighborhood that rises behind it.