Three hundred years ago the theatre was the first building of the ancient Herculaneum which was found during the digging of a well for gathering water. In 1710 the peasant Ambrogio Nocerino, digging out, came to the scene of this theatre, from which he removed marbles and statues.
This date also marks the discovery of the ancient Herculaneum, destroyed by the Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 A.D. Its systematics exploration started in 1738, beginning from the theatre, thanks to Charles of Bourbon’s will. The theatre was built at the age of Augustus, we know also the name of the architect who planned it: P. Numisius.
The building, one of the best preserved theatres of the Roman civilization, was explored through tunnels during the Bourbon escavation, and still today it is buried under a volcanic blanket, more than 20 metres thick, and over which some buildings were built.
It is made up of a hemicycle which is more than 50 metres high, it is divided upright in three sectores (summa, media and ima cavea), where about 2500 people could find seats.
A colonnade arcade was placed back the theatre, where the audience could stay during the intervals of performances.