La Stanza Gialla

Underneath the convent of Sant'Anselmo, west of piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta and at the beginning of via di Porta Lavernale, archaeologists excavated in 1892-1896 the remains of a Roman house, which has been named "domus Pactumeiorum" after the name of their hypothetical owners.

At the end of the 19th century, the Benedictine order planned to build a church to Sant'Anselmo on the Western side of the Aventine hill overlooking via Marmorata, on a plot of land donated by Pope Leo XIII to the Order of Malta. As the foundation of the new building were laid out, the Roman domus emerged. While other parts of the Aventine (such as the one overlooking the Tiber that was occupied by religious buildings since the early Middle Ages) this area had remained clear of structures and had been used as vinyard.


The lack of post-antique building activity allowed the preservation of the Roman ruins, which were briefly exposed and then immediately obliterated by the 19th century church.

The large Roman domus, tentatively attributed to the Pactumei family according to epigraphic finds, was dated to the 2nd century AD. Later on, however, archaeologists concluded that the building underwent several phases of renovation (between the Republican period until at least the 4th-5th century AD) and comprised more than one residential complex. The 2007 excavations by the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma inside the western cloister of the abbey documented in detail the stratigraphy of paving layers belonging to the entire period of inhabitation of the domus.