Area 6

The almost two hectares wide triangle of Area 6 can provide some evidence for the pattern of transformation of the Eastern Caelian during the Early Middle Ages. The space is almost entirely comprised within the limits of the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs. Here are the remains of the first palace built for the pope in Rome, the Episcopium (called later Patriarchium), used until the 14th century, when the building was dismantled and replaced by the Lateran Palace, still visible today.

Of this profoundly important complex little is visible today as most of it lies buried beneath the building of the Holy Stairs (Scala Santa) and under the Lateran Square. Remains of early medieval structures with 6th century frescoes have been found under the Scala Santa (SA6.1) but their chronology is still debated and needs further assessment.

Thea Ravasi