THE CAPACITY:Over 5.000 seats (with mobile stands) and 400 of the artisti organic are divided between singers, actors and musicians. It was the meeting point and the place for important decisions for the tribes of the Reti and the local Celts, who colonized the Italic temple and the fertile banks of Lake Longara undertaking intensive cultivation of cereals. The crop was then traded with the Romans, the pilgrimage to the Shrine of these populations could last 30 days. Normally occurred in the month of June, coinciding with the summer solstice. The largest pilgrimage was the Celtic one, which started from the current area of Ticino. These Celtic tribes cloned the names of their areas, very similar to their area of origin. Even today, the toponymy of Arcugnano shows the names of the same Gallic and Celtic location of Ticino.
ALTITUDEBe prepared for a long excursion: The place has gigantic dimensions. The amphitheater of the Port of Angels is almost taller and once was larger than that of Epidaurus.
Its height, measured from the landing, reached the top of the hill on a vertical drop of over 80 meters: today, more than 30 of them are occupied, and 150 meters are above the sea level. Its steps were built using the natural slope of the hill, as the the Greek theaters were built.
Some of its anatomical seats, curiously recall those of the Italic theaters and the ones of the Oschi. Structures much older than the theater founded by the Romans, normally characterized by an essentially more soldierly appearance.
THE UPPER CAVEAIts upper cavea ended in its summit in the garden of the Temple, an Eden with extending more than 120 m.
It consisted on 25 steps in white and yellow stone of Vicenza, covered with paved land.
The entry of the Orchestra was represented by two uncovered lanes, located respectively to the north and south of the escarpments, which were flagstone too. They were present in the grooves perpendicular etched, so as to suggest the passage of heavy tanks that probably graced the stage in important representations.
This last part of the hemicycle, called “summa cavea” (high cavea) has not been completely rebuilt since it lacks of three steps (which are currently under the ground). It was only outlined in the embankment that replaces them, improving its quality using the space as new seats, upstream of the balustrade.
The podium, at the top of the bleachers, housed an altar where there was a brazier. Probably, it also acting as a maritime signaling and, for this reason, it was was kept on continuously. The temple was dedicated to Reita, the Goddess of the Animals, venerated by the Venetians and linked to the cult of the afterlife.
THE FORTIFIED FARMThe current temple was initially a fortified farm. It had a gable, aesthetically linked to the villa Montanari. The temples, seen on maps, seemed to have almost the same inclination on the east, that is exposed at the sun of the morning on the south east. Certainly, it can be said that this inclination can not be accidental. Their orientation, on the side that faces Verona (northwest) and also on the on one wich looks to Venice (southeast), as well as that of the road, is not parallel to the axis of the coastal hills and neither to the one of the road.
There was also a third Temple, but the study of dating the origin of the latter lacks of documentation. There has never been shown traces of this temple in the documents and, since 1320 at least, it was already a heap of shards and rocks, where the only surviving columns have been used to rebuild it. Note the cross (which has been certified with certainty as Templar) in iron and stone, which suggests that the structure called the “Church of the Fisherman” was the temple where the Templar Knights practiced their religion.
And this was probably another point against them.
THE TEMPLAR TOWERSAlways on the top of the hill, at the south of the Temple, there were two mighty Templar towers of which today, though today we can only admire one of it. To create a more evocative scene, contributed additional four towers of the Fortified Farm.
Earthquakes, perhaps volcanic eruptions of the Monte Cucco, barbarian invasions, ruined its structure in those centuries. But the worst happened in 1848 and in 1945.
Only three towers survived the shelling of Field Marshal Radetzky, while the allied air raid on Fontega in 1945 destroyed much of the cavea.
THE SECRET PASSAGEThe facade of the Temple was supported by four columns and, at the base, there were at least four galleries. Only one of these arc connected to an underground tunnel, which leads to the center of the Cavea. Indeed, it seems that in the middle of this secret passage (though maybe it was once a passage for the flow of water), there was another passage well-concealed. This underground passage came out under the tower of the Kiosk, now little more than a cape which invades the side of the Amphitheatre. This hole, supported by columns, is still visible in part, and could used by actors to disappear and reappear from a different altitude.
The tunnel that leads to the base of the steps of the inferior cavea, was exactly in the Loggia of the Royal Box where, under a velarium, sat the leaders of the Celtic tribes. The two audiences, as the Royal Box, housed the authoritative figures, leaders and citizens who held positions in the civil and political life, whose seats were composed of resting-arms.
At the time of the recovery of the structure by the Querini (end of 1700), in the lodge below the Royal Box, the opened gallery had also the function of sound box. The ingenious system had the task to adjust the sound level. In this way the source of the sound, returning back , expanded on the bank. On this side, were planned installations of mobile grandstands in wooden furniture, in Elizabethan style.