The buildings formed an annex to the Palace of Tiberius above on the Palatine Hill. Their purpose is unknown, but various explanations have been suggested based on literary sources. It might have been a vestibule to the palace, a library or a school.
The current structures are from the time of Domitian. They contain three large rooms. The larger room, almost a hall, is located on the Vicus Tuscus, just after the Temple of Castor and Pollux. It was originally vaulted, with a portico on the N. side towards the Forum. To the W. a line of shops faced the Vicus Tuscus. Large parts of the walls and some parts of the portico remain, but the vaulted roof has collapsed.
Between this room or hall are two smaller rooms. The room closest to the Forum Romanum was an atrium-like hall without a roof. From there a triple doorway led to a back room, which originally consisted of a central hall with a surrounding quadriporticus. In the back of the hall three doors lead into three separate rooms.
Below the floor of the atrium an earlier level has been found, with a basin, probably an impluvium of a private house from the period of Caligula.
In the 6th century the room with the portico was transformed into a church, the Santa Maria Antiqua.
The rooms are not open for visits, but the larger room can been seen from the Vicus Tuscus.
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