Nobody has determined for sure what Aosta’s forensic cryptoporticus was built for: some say it was a walkway or a covered market, needed during the cold winter months in the Alps. Others believe it was a military granary. The mystery adds to the charm of this hidden treasure.
The structure – with its three underground branches circumscribing a rectangular space of 89 by 73 meters – supported the sacred area of the forum of Augusta Praetoria, the city Octavian founded in 25 BC, after defeating the Celtic tribe of the Salassi.
Above the vaults and pillars of the cryptoporticus, and above the two naves of its gallery, stood the local symbols of ancient religion – including two temples: one dedicated to Augustus and one, right next to it, dedicated to the Capitoline triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.
This world of worship could rise under the sun thanks to the underground foundation provided by the mysterious cryptoporticus. No matter why it was built, its interesting history is worth a visit.