New roads leading to ancient Rome

By Jose Nito Salvador

New archeological discoveries have been made during the construction of Rome’s metro line C. There are plans to restore some of the artifacs and pieces and use them as decoration for the new stations due in 2022.

When visiting Rome, one of the most striking places to go is in the street Via dei Fori Imperiali. Starting from the Piazza Venezia and its imposing Vittorio Emanuele II monument, it leads all the way through the Roman Forum, until reaching the notorious Colosseum. The street is seen in many pictures that show the 2000-year old amphitheater. However, if travelers go there right now, they will notice something new dominates the scene: a construction site going along the street.

Cranes and covering walls might get in the way of the tourist’s photos. The words “Roma Metropolitane Linea C” are displayed on top of them. It is the work for Rome’s third metro line C. It links the Italian capital Eastern neighborhoods with the city center. The most recent station, San Giovanni, opened in May 2018. Inside, the station looks more like a museum than a public transportation hub. Ancient sculptures and artifacts discovered during its construction are displayed, as well as Rome’s history timeline as decoration.

San Giovanni station for metro line C in Rome

The construction of line C has taken time due to excavations close to archeological sites. A 39-room military building complex probably used by Emperor Hadrian was discovered in 2016 by researchers near Amba Aradam station. According to the Telegraph, more recent discoveries have been made in the Hadrianic barracks. These include the home and office of a militia commander. Mosaic floors where also uncovered, and there are plans to restore them and install them as decoration in the new Amba Aradam station due in 2022.

Construction for line C began in 2006, and the first section was opened to the public in 2014. Currently, work is being done in the newest section, as well as a new station in Via dei Fori Imperiali near the Colosseum.

For Daniel, who works offering tours to visitors just outside Colosseum metro station, the new line is a positive addition. “People will be able to come directly from San Giovanni,” he says. “Right now they need to change trains, go to Termini station and change to line B” he adds.

Rome’s public transportation system has been under criticism in recent times. In October 2018, an escalator located in Repubblica station collapsed, injuring 20 Russian football fans. In the same year, ten buses were caught on fire due to poor maintenance and short circuits. In 2017 the number of exploding buses was 22, and 14 in 2016.

For some, overall transportation is good, and the new metro line is being well received. “The public transportation in Rome is good. Like every place it can have lapses, but it’s good,” says Daniel.