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The Eternal City keeps on being a treasure trove of discoveries: few days ago 80 meters Aurelian Walls were uncovered during the excavations works which have been taking place around Rome for the construction of her third underground line (so called line C). They were surprisingly unburied in the area of St. John Lateran’s Archbasilica, one of the four major churches in the Eternal City (together with St. Paul Outside the Walls, Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Peter’s).
What makes this discovery so astonishing is that this section of the Walls was thought lost long ago, precisely in the 18th century, when the whole area underwent massive tranformations as a consequence of the works for the new majestic facade of St. John Latern’s Church itself. Being this event traceable in the scientific literature, but lacking in turn any reference to the actual destinity of the Roman Walls, scholars supposed they had collapsed or were torn down.
The conservation status of the structures is nearly perfect: eleven arches, two towers, even traces of medieval painting (as those walls served as shelters to hermits during the Middle Age), plus a complex hydraulic system of the modern era (from the 17th century) and slits for archers with visible amendments after the invention of gunpowder were uncovered from earth.
A great project is now under consideration: to set a huge open walkway for visitors which might link this stretch of the Walls with no less than those at the Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. In so doing new life would be given to this gigantic difensive system of the Ancient Rome.
Ask our staff at Hotel Des Artistes for information on the sections of the Aurelian Walls already open to public!