The Roman Theater Of Taormina
In a dominant position, it occupies the ridge of the homonymous hill. Recent studies have helped to awaken interest in this monument linked as much to the landscape as to archeology. With a diameter of 109 m, the cavea is, after that of Syracuse, the largest theater not only in Sicily, but in the Italian peninsula and Africa. The original layout dates back to the III / II century BC. This is documented by the remains of the isodomic block wall, incorporated into the scene building and seats with an inscription from the auditorium now preserved in the western entrance hall (versura). The remains of the small sacred building at the top of the cavea date back to the same period, then obliterated by the enlargement it underwent in the 2nd century AD. What is visible belongs entirely to the Roman restructuring, especially that which took place in the first half of the 2nd century AD. under Trajan or Hadrian. The scene retains the two side openings or hospitalia in the façade, while the central or directorial one has collapsed. The current reconstruction of the columns of the scenae frons is due to a nineteenth-century restoration. On the other hand, the remains that can be traced back to the Augustan age are small; this phase would be documented by some sculptures perhaps pertinent to the decoration of the front of the scene (Antiquarium of the Theater). Between the II-III century AD the theater was transformed into an arena with the construction of the annular corridor, closed by a raised parapet, and of the underground environment, used as a shelter for equipment and perhaps also for animal cages. Finally, the enlargement of the underground environment and the current porticus post scaenam can be referred to a subsequent phase.
The Casina degli Inglesi, formerly the seat of the nineteenth-century Antiquarium of the Theater, houses the important epigraphic collection of Taormina. Taormina has returned a surprising amount of epigraphs, extraordinary for Sicily and with few comparisons in the ancient world. These are mainly Greek inscriptions of a public nature (tables of the Strategists and Gymnasiarchs and financial statements), chronologically rather homogeneous, datable between the 2nd and 1st century BC, however before the transformation of Taormina into a colony in 36 or 21 BC. The rich corpus of Taormine inscriptions offers an immediate contact with the society that expressed them, helping to illuminate many aspects of public and private life.