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Temple of the Middle Garden (Tempio dell’Orto di Mezzo)


Temple of the Middle Garden (Tempio dell’Orto di Mezzo)


Temple of the Middle Garden (Tempio dell’Orto di Mezzo)
In the so-called Middle Garden (Orto di Mezzo) numerous archaeological remains can be found, such as the remains of structures of the imperial age and the intact cell of a temple of the republican age, probably dedicated to the goddess Diana. There are also walls from the republican age as well as imperial-age walls in opus latericium that probably belonged to the thermae, and a cistern, used both to fill the thermae and for the cult of Diana.
Historian F. Castagnoli mentions the Ariccian temple of Diana of the Middle Garden as one of the only nine cases known in Italy of temple peripteros sine postico, a kind of italic temple without an opisthodomos (the rear room of the building) and a rear colonnade; instead, it is characterized by a lateral extension of the back wall of the cell with two wings narrowed and reduced to a narrow porch.
The temple was mentioned for the first time in 1819 by archaeologist Antonio Nibby, who believed it to be dedicated to Diana Aricina, and yet to be a distinct entity from the sanctuary of Diana on the Nemi lake. Nibby provided a drawing of the monument, and compared it to that of Juno Gabina (from the ancient city of Gabii). Later on, in 1925, Grigore Florescu proposed to date the temple at the first half of the 2nd century BCE. However, more recently Castagnoli anticipated the dating to the third century BCE. The ruins consist now of the 5.40 meters high cell walls with 9 rows of blocks in opus quadratum, mostly perfectly preserved.
(Bibliography: E. Lucidi, 1796; G. R. Florescu, 1925; R. Lefevre, 1977; M. Lilli, 2002; M. Leoni, 2008; M. C. Vincenti, 2010)

© Palazzo Chigi Ariccia

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