Archaeological Precinct of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem

Mosaic

Within the archaeological precinct of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem are preserved the remains of the magnificent Imperial Palace that Helena, mother of Constantine, dwelt after the victory of the Milvian Bridge (312 CE), transforming and expanding the residence belonged, a century earlier, to the Severan emperors. Elagabalus, in particular, had massive agonistic structures built there, as the Amphitheatrum Castrense and the Circus Varianus.

The parts of the palace, the Sessorium of the Christian sources, still extant are the hall readapted as a chapel destined to hold the relics of the Holy Cross, the stately apsidal hall erroneously called "Temple of Venus and Cupid" and considerable remains of domus (houses) with frescoes and mosaics; on the contrary, the scant ruins of the Severan Bath-houses restored by Constantine’s mother do not seem to pertain to the imperial premises but rather to have been destined to a public use.

The Carthusian and the Cistercian monks carried out both the subsequent transformations and the partial conservation of the archaeological site. In the period after the Unification of Italy, the area was acquired by the Military Property so as to build within it the Caserma (Barracks) Umberto Principe di Piemonte.