Rome Travel Guide

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A Tomb in Appio Latino, Newly Discovered


The headline reads: "A tomb in via Latina. Valeria died 1900 years ago."

We read in Il Messaggero (a Rome daily newspaper) one morning this month (5/4/22) of an archaeological discovery in the Appio Latino neighborhood, about a mile from our current location, near Piazza Re di Roma. We couldn't resist the temptation to find the site, and headed there on our mid-day walk. We found the excavation at one end of via Luigi Tosti--a cross street along the famous consular road, via Latina--not far, as it turns out, from one of our previous (28 of them) Rome addresses.    

There was a guy there eating his lunch, who turned out to be an archaeologist on the project.  He said he was present when the discovery was made, in the course of very ordinary work on old water pipes a meter or two below the surface.

What the workers found was a portion of a necropolis that exists on both sides of the length of via Latina. More specifically, a funerial altar in marble, inscribed to "Valeria Laeta, daughter of Publio, who lived 13 years and 7 months." According to the archaeologists, the altar and the tomb date to the 2nd century a.d. (CE in woke speak)--1900 years ago. It is not clear if they found Valeria's remains. 

Dianne chatted up the archaeologist, who said the first hint of significant remains was a Roman wall--the one directly in from of him in the photo above. He said the presence of archaeologists was typical (even required) on projects that involved digging at any significant depth. Some neighbors were interested, too. 

The altar has been removed to the care of the superintendent who presides over such issues, to protect against the risk of theft, according to the Messaggero story. The archeologist confirmed to us that is had been removed for "conservation." When it will see the light of day for the public is anyone's guess. Don't hold your breath. 


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