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The Hotel known by the name of “Pensione Barrett” is situated at house number 47 of Largo Torre Argentina in the recently renovated light yellow-coloured Palazzo right next to the famous old Teatro Argentina of Rome,

in which Gioacchino Rossini held his “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” début in 1816.
















The Palazzo was built directly above the ancient Forum of Pompeius (the biggest Forum of Imperial Rome with about 100 columns. The hotel faces the 4 temples datable as from the Republican Era (440 B.C.) situated ont Largo Argentina.

It borrows portions of ancient walls and arches, recognisably from the roman period by their construction technique, for parts of it’s interiors as, for example, in the hotel lounge.



The fountain situated on the building’s “piano nobile” (the “aristocratic”, owner’s
floor – one of the Hotel "Pensione Barrett"’s actual storeys), has been faithfully



thanks to both in-depth research in the analysis of original documents and period


as also studies of the scarce original stone parts left over to our day.


In papal Rome

the supply of so-called “direct” flowing fresh water only reached a few of the richer people’s town mansions, the palazzi, (and although one was already used to collecting water in special water-tanks or efficient cisterns)


the lower classes had to fetch their water from one of the many street fountains or small drinking fountains (the so-called “nasoni”, big noses).?


Have a water supply “directly” in-house at that time (between 1550 and 1700), even more so in one’s own apartment, was, without doubt, a sign of social distinction, of acquired privileges, of power.

The actual aspect of the area opposite the Palazzo façade on to which its
big main door opens, is determined by the archaeological site and result of the excavations made between 1926 and 1929, during Mussolini’s regime,

 in the course of which the entire block, including what was Palazzo “a’ Cesarini” ( owned by the esteemed Sforza-Cesarini family and once seat of the French Embassy to The Holy See) was demolished; consequentially a spacious holy area - the “Area Sacra” - was brought to light, including the impressive ruins of 4 temples datable as from the Republican Era, under the oldest discovered up to date in Rome.

The building that hosts the “Pensione Barrett”


stands on the site where the colonnade and eastern access to the “Teatro Pompeo” was once located.Erected by the Roman consul and triumvir Pompeius Magnus around 57 B.C.,


it was the first theatre of ancient Rome to be built entirely in stone and had a portico of about 100 columns. The size of the theatre is quite exceptional for the period, keeping in mind that the auditorium was 150 metres in diameter and had a stage of approximately 90 metres length; the theatre was able to hold at least 20.00

The four-sided porticus of arcades behind the stage was a real public garden complex, decorated with statues and with platanus copses bordered by fountains,

ending in a large rectangular exedra used by the Curia for Senate meetings.


The photograph above, on the right hand side:

shows where today’s Curia Pompeia is located, situated under the Palazzo – indicated by the red arrow – it constitutes the actual site of the Hotel “Pensione Barrett”

the reconstruction above, on the left:

shows the Curia part of the Theatre of Pompeius which directly overlooked the four Temples of Largo Argentina (area indicated by the yellow stripe)and, above all, the Tempio Tondo (Round Temple) ( indicated by the green arrow).

It is here, on the ides of March, under the statue of his political enemy Pompeius”, as historical tradition refers, that Julius Caesar was killed.


The Statue is visible today at Palazzo Spada.




The “Teatro di Pompeo”, renovated during the reign of the Emperors Settimius Severus and Caracalla ( in 210 B.C., had two rows of central pillars aligned on the grounds of what is today’s Via dei Barbieri, from an easterly direction ( with the access to the theatre portico in correspondence to today’s Via di Torre Argentina) towards the west ( of what once was the hemicycle of the theatre that includes the actual urban area between Via dei Giubbonari in the south, Piazza Campo dei Fiori in the west and Piazza del Paradiso in the north).


The entire building of the Hotel “Pensione Barrett” thereby occupies the area where once the Arcades and Curia of the Theatre of Pompeius stood: area directly overlooking the four Temples from the Republican Period (440 B.C.)and forming the “Sacred Area” at the Torre Argentina of today.


The above Palazzo obtained it’s proven denomination as recorded on the
cartography of Rome: “Novissimae Urbis Romae Acuratissima Descriptio”,
drafted by Mario Cartaro in the year 1576.

about us  our name   services & rates         photos     reservations    the tower & the theatre     archaeological area