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“Biggest find in Rome since the Forum”

December 27, 2012
A major archaeological find in central Rome - a 2nd century complex.

A major archaeological find in central Rome – a 2nd century complex.

A 2nd century AD, 900-seat arts center built during the reign of Hadrian has been uncovered beneath one of Rome’s busiest intersections, Piazza Venezia.  According to The Guardian, “the terracing and the hulking brick walls of the complex, as well as stretches of the elegant grey and yellow marble flooring, are newly visible.”

Italian archeologist Roberto Egidi points to a drawing near the remains of an ancient auditorium where scholars, politicians and poets held debates and lectures.

Italian archeologist Roberto Egidi points to a drawing near the remains of an ancient auditorium where scholars, politicians and poets held debates and lectures.

Also in The Guardian:

“Hadrian’s auditorium is the biggest find in Rome since the Forum was uncovered in the 1920s,” said Rossella Rea, the archaeologist running the dig.

The excavations, which are now due to open to the public, are next to a taxi rank and squeezed between a baroque church and the Vittoriano, an imposing monument to Italy‘s defunct monarchy, which is nicknamed the Typewriter by locals.

The complex was only unearthed thanks to excavations to build a new underground railway line which will cross the heart of Rome. “We don’t have funds for these kind of digs so this has come to light thanks to the new line,” said Rea.

Archaeologists keeping a careful eye on what gets dug up have proved to be a mixed blessing for railway engineers, who have had to scrap plans for two stations in the heart of the centre of Rome when it was discovered their exits to the surface cut straight through Roman remains.

With the discovery of Hadrian’s complex at Piazza Venezia, the line risked losing its last stop in the centre and being forced to run into the heart of Rome from the suburbs and straight out the other side without stopping. But Rea said the station and the ruins could coexist.

BTW – The Vittoriano, in addition to being nicknamed the Typewriter, is also known as the wedding cake.

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