June 14, 2024

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Rome is building an eight-story underground museum, but treasures keep getting in the way

Rome is building an eight-story underground museum, but treasures keep getting in the way

Domenico Stinellis/AFP

Construction work was underway this week on the main axis of the Metro C subway in Piazza Venezia in central Rome.


Rome, as it is often said, was not built in a day. Nowhere is this more evident than on the modern Metro Line C, an ambitious project that aims to help alleviate the Italian capital’s notorious traffic gridlock and celebrate its rich archaeological history with a display unique in the world. Underground museum.

The €700 million ($757.7 million) line was originally envisioned for the 2000 Catholic Jubilee as a vital link between Rome’s Basilica of San Giovanni and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, making it easier for visiting pilgrims to obtain indulgences by walking through the churches. . Holy doors. Rome’s great basilica only opens its sacred doors during jubilee years, allowing Catholics from around the world to make pilgrimages to the city to tour it, symbolizing openness to receive mercy and reconciliation.


Pope Francis opens the “Holy Doors” in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

But the dream of 2000 never came true, thanks to a series of problems ranging from a corruption scandal in the city government to the huge number of artifacts – 40,000 in all, from petrified peach pits to pottery and vases and even the emperor’s walls and mosaics. Hadrian’s 2,000-year-old military barracks – found with each shovel full of dirt during initial preparations.

The hope now is that the line’s display plaza in Piazza Venezia, which includes an eight-storey underground museum, will be ready within 10 years, according to engineer Andrea Ciutti, in charge of the metro museum complex. This will allow them to open in Jubilee 2033, which marks 2,000 years since the death of Jesus Christ.

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“It’s true, 10 years seems like a long time, but we’re not just dealing with engineering problems,” Ciotti told CNN inside the construction site. “This station will be judged the most beautiful in the world… We don’t have to rely on items brought from the museum, the museum station is in its original context in ancient Rome.”

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Emperor Hadrian’s barracks were discovered in 2016.

During the initial stages of work carried out in the past five years, all artifacts were removed from the site for restoration, Cioti said. Each will be placed exactly where they were found inside the Metro Museum, which is excavated about 85 meters (280 feet) deep and is eight floors below the modern city of Rome.

Over thousands of years, the modern city was built on covered ruins. Only about 10% of ancient Rome has been excavated, while the rest remains buried nine meters (30 feet) beneath the current city, according to Rome’s tourism office. The city’s history dates back to the Stone Age, and construction work has been known to be hampered by the discovery of ruins that are so numerous that they cannot even be excavated, and are often reburied for preservation. Even simple infrastructure work, such as sewer repairs, must be attended by archaeologists who have the ability to stop the work if something is found.

There will be 27 escalators, six elevators and 66,000 square meters of archaeological display space. The ancient walls found during the excavations will be placed “in situ” at the modern station and the ancient Via Flaminia that ran through the old city to the nearby Roman Forum and Colosseum.

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The station’s three main entrances will connect the three museums around the square: Vittoriano, the Palazzo Venezia, and the outer ruins of the Roman Forum anchored by the Colosseum at the far end, which has its own metro station and which will also house a museum and gallery. space.

Many of the archaeological sites will have access points from within the Metro Museum, meaning commuters and tourists alike can exit the station by wandering past monuments of historical importance such as Hadrian’s Hall, which was discovered when the initial archaeological investigation into the project began and was intended It should be the station entrance location. They have since moved the site and excavated the ruins, which can currently only be seen from street level.

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Artifacts from the excavation are on display in 2018 at San Giovanni Station.

To secure the site during excavation, engineers are using a ‘top-down’ excavation system, which was never used in Italy but was an integral part of the Jubilee Line in London. The cross walls and membranes are buried deep in the soil to form the perimeter of the underground complex, with the dirt taken out recycled and reinforced for use in building materials, Ciotti said.

The train tunnels themselves are not the problem as they will be more than 100 feet underground.

“We have reached this level where we have to delve into artifacts that are causing delays,” he said, noting that they go through the Middle Ages and Renaissance eras.

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The Venice Station Museum isn’t the only treasure on the new line. In 2016, archaeologists working at the site of Porta Metronia station (formerly known as Ambra Aradam) found a 39-room complex spanning more than 9,700 square feet, which has been integrated into the subway station, which will be opened by the end of 2016. 2016. 2024. In 2025, the new Colosseo-Fori station, complete with a four-story underground museum displaying artifacts including 25 ancient wells discovered when it was built, will also open after activation tests are completed, scheduled to begin in October.

The 26-kilometre-long Line C will be Italy’s first fully automated, driverless subway system and will reduce road traffic by 400,000 vehicles per day, meaning carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by about 310,000 tons per year, according to WeBuild Group, which He is the main contractor for the project.

The original plans were modified from Jubilee 2000 to remove several stations in the historic center which would have been too difficult to excavate.