Rome is always at the crossroad between antiquity and modernity. So it happens that while digging for making room to future underground line C, 80 meters Aurelian Walls might be discovered just a bit lower the ground level.
This is precisely what occurred some days ago nearby St. John Lateran’s Archbasilica.
The perfect conservation status of this “brand new” section of the Walls (earth protected them from air pollution and the other modifications) is reflected in no less than eleven arches, two towers, 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 (17th century) and slits for archers with visible amendments after the invention of gunpowder. As there were no records of it in scientific literature, this stretch of Walls dating back to 3rd century AD was thought to be lost long ago, precisely in the 18th century: it was then that the whole area was readjusted to make space to the new colossal facade of St. John Lateran’s Church. So these 80 meters Walls were supposed to have collapsed or been torn down on that occasion.
Scholars are already at work on a project which aims at making them all accessible to public, throughout a walkway which will be leading visitors from St. John Lateran’s to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme’s Church.
Some sections of the Aurealian Walls are in fact already open to public: contact our staff at Carlito Hotel & Hostel for more details!