It’s true what they say: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

The famous saying rings true even today.

A tour guide at the Roman Forum commented that nothing could ever be done quickly in Italy’s Capital. “Every time developers try to build something new, or dig into the ground, they hit another priceless treasure” he said with a wry smile.

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Excavations of Ancient Rome

The latest line of the Metro has taken over a decade to complete and, according to the tour guide, this was partially due to negotiations with Fondo Ambiente Italiano (the Italian National Trust), and the care with which the dig had to be undertaken.

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Construction started on the Colosseum in 70 AD. Excavations on this mighty arena itself were carried out in the early 1800s to uncover the ground floor.

Last year, while work was carried out on the newest line of the Metro, excavation crews unearthed a Roman barracks and burial ground dating back to the second century. Around 40,000 individual pieces were discovered ranging from pottery to weaponry.

Mayor Virginia Raggi enjoyed a sneak peak of the new San Giovanni station where the best of these artefacts will be on display. The station will be open to the public later this year and archaeologists are calling it a “trip back in history.”

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Artefacts on display at San Giovanni Metro Station | Photo credit: La Repubblica

Indeed, as one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities, Rome has a lot to offer.

Rome was founded in 753 BC. It has survived countless wars, and political uprisings. It experienced monarchy and one of the earliest examples of republic governments in the world.

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Beautiful Rome by sunset

In post-classical times, Rome saw the construction of Old St Peter’s Basilica. In the middle ages, it was the heart of the Holy Roman Empire.

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Old St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated in c. 360. Construction on the current Basilica began in 1506 with architects including Bernini, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

Rome’s renaissance brought about artistic enlightenment and produced some of the world’s most famous masters such as Raphael and Michelangelo.

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The famous and awe-inspiring Pietà was hewn from marble by Michelangelo in 1499 and can be viewed at St Peter’s Basilica

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It is home some of the world’s oldest and most treasured sites, welcoming between 7 – 10 million visitors every year.

Rome is a history-buffs dream, with reminiscent art that captures a bygone era and echoes of stories long come to pass.

There is nothing on earth quite like it.

“Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.”
-Anotole Broyard

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