Lucio Cornelio Balbi distinguished himself in several battles siding with Caesar and Octavian then bought as positions of power and wealth. With the booty obtained from the wars in Africa decided to build the theater, which was inaugurated in 14 BC The theater was located in the Campus Martius, in the flat area of the city that stretched to the left of the Tiber and was between the Pincio and the Camidoglio. This theater, which was the third built in Rome after that of Pompey and Marcellus, was richly decorated and behind the scene there was an area with arcades. The Regional Catalogues identify arcaded square in the crypt Balbi, but a closer examination showed that it was intended for crypt or a walkway between the porch and the outer perimeter wall, used as a shelter during the winter season, or for crypt is alluded to a road covered with pre-existing and incorporated under the building stage.
The whole was located a section of the National Museum of Rome, which is divided into two display areas, one on urban history and, in particular, refers to events related to the area occupied by the crypt Balbi from antiquity to the contemporary age, while the other area concerns the medieval archeology, and is especially aspects of economic history and artistic culture in Rome between the fifth century and the tenth century AD The documentation comes from both the excavations carried out in the crypt Balbi, and from other locations in the city.