The Curia Julia, also known as the Curia Senatus, dates back to the reign of Emperor Diocletian (r. 293-303 ) and was the seat of the Senate. The lower part of the front wall was originally veneered in marble, while the upper part was covered with stucco.
In the 7th century the Curia was converted into a church, that of Sant' Adriano al Foro, which accounts for its relatively good state of preservation. Sant' Adriano was deconsecrated in the 1930s and the building restored to its original form.
The interior of the Curia Julia is 25.20 m long by 17.61 m wide. There are three broad steps that could have fitted five rows of seats, room for about 300 senators. The walls are now bare, but they were originally veneered in marble two-thirds of their height. Thankfully, its striking floor remains intact, a beautiful green and maroon pavement in opus sectile.
The bronze doors are copies; the original doors were removed to the cathedral in 1660, at the behest of Pope Alexander VII (r. 1655-67).
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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