ROMAN ‘UNDERWORLD’ – NOT ON THE DAILY TOURIST MENU

Joe McClain - Jun 15, 2009
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Rome is a reputed historical gem literally packed with ancient artifacts and treasures of immense value. Recently more has been revealed with a slightly shocking twist – Rome is opening up its underground to show what gems lie beneath.

 

Rome is one of the most fascinating places a tourist can visit. The passion so typical for Italians mixed with centuries of their artistic genius and taste beyond understanding leave everyone speechless. A simple stroll through the streets of Rome seems like a journey through past centuries – the architecture is so diverse and so overwhelming. Ancient Romans left their strong legacy which even now doesn’t cease to impress and amaze. Their culture forms the very foundation of Rome and its prosperity and fame.

An immense part of Roman history lies hidden under ground. As Umberto Broccoli of the Roman City Council mentions, this summer a unique opportunity will arise for anyone longing to see something spectacular and rare – some of the ancient hidden gems have been open to the public. The access is only possible through pre-arranged booking of a guided tour for the cost of € 5.

The tour reveals a bit more of the life of Rome’s infamous gladiators by showing sites such as the Ludus Magnus, where the gladiators lived and trained, as well as the preserved necropolis ‘Santa Rosa’ under the Vatican.  Pagan temples, frequently dedicated to the cult of Mithras are also an amazing feature of the underground tours.

Those who are intrigued by the Roman building talent shall not miss out on exploring the 2,000 year-old aqueduct, Aqua Virgo, which surprisingly enough still supplies water to some parts of the city, including the beautiful Trevi Fountain. Built in 19 B.C. by Marcus Agrippa, it derives its name from a legend about a young girl that sent thirsty soldiers to the springs which were to supply Rome in the future. In her honor, the aqueduct was named after her.

Even though the underground tours will be only available throughout the summer months, there is no need to panic. The city plans to reveal even more ‘juicy’ bits of the Roman underworld in the years to come as well.

 

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