Archaeologists are excavating a large semi-circular hall belonging to an Imperial Roman residence located in present-day Piazza Dante amid controversial plans to move the remains to the centre of the square.
The so-called Volta Gatti came to light during renovations at the ex palazzo Casse di Risparmio Postali in Piazza Dante, which is set to become the new secret services headquarters.
Measuring almost nine meters in height and featuring precious decorations in glass paste and marble, the hall is part of an imperial complex adjacent to the Horti Lamiani, a set of gardens on the Esquiline Hill in the triangle formed by present-day Via Merulana, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and Via Principe Eugenio that were incorporated by Emperor Nero into his Domus Aurea.
Once excavations are complete, the special superintendent’s office for the Colosseum and archaeological area intends to relocate the remains to the centre of Piazza Dante in the first public participatory archaeological project of its kind.
However, in the first of three public meetings to discuss the project, local residents expressed their opposition on grounds of wanting to preserve one of the few green spaces in the neighbourhood and funding concerns.
The plan is to reposition the hall on one side of Piazza Dante alongside a series of terraces evoking the ancient topography of the area. The project also includes installing hologram displays superimposing images of the ancient Horti on the present-day square.
“The real challenge is to succeed in reconciling the ancient city and the present-day one,” said I Municipio President Sabrina Alfonsi.
Superintendent Francesco Prosperetti stressed “the importance of delocalisation in order to valorise the remains”.
Photo Credit: ANSA.it
Author: Emanuela De Crescenzo [ Source: ANSA [February 02, 2016]