Under the Piazza Venezia (the busiest traffic circle in Rome that sits just outside of the ancient Roman forum) a 900-seat arts centre built by the Roman emperor Hadrian in 123 AD has been found!
Archaeologists are calling it THE MOST IMPORTANT ROMAN DISCOVERY IN 80 YEARS!
The massive complex, that once contained three huge halls where nobles went to hear poetry, speeches and philosophical lectures, was only discovered because of excavations that were being done to build a new underground railway line through the city centre. The hulking brick walls, as well as the grey and yellow marble floors, can be viewed at the bottom of a 5.5m (18ft) hole in the middle of the Piazza.
So, why do I care?
Having grown up in the north-west of Canada, where my family home was built on top of nothing but earth and decomposed trees, I find European cities that are built upon centuries of history unbelievably fascinating.
I once visited a church in Rome that from the outside looked like a perfectly normal Catholic church, but on the inside — after paying 2 Euro — I could walk down a steep stone staircase to a centuries old Catholic church, and then to an even lower level where I wandered through the halls of the pagan temple that existed before Christianity was ever in existence.
Not only was this history never demolished, it was preserved from the elements and looters by the buildings on top of it.
In a world where throwing up quick, temporary structures to save time and money now seems to be the norm, it is fascinating to me that millenniums old structures still exist intact under a few layers of earth.
ART OR EYESORE? "THE WEDDING CAKE"
The glaringly white Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II OR Altare della Patria OR Il Vittoriano was built to honour the first king of unified Italy, Victor Emmanuel. Completed in 1935, it sits in the core of Rome between the huge Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill. The marble monstrosity is 135m wide and 70m high making it clearly visible to most of the city. Though impressive, this monument has had a contentious relationship with the people of Rome since... more