That mystery revealed by the holes: there is a Pantheon under the Pantheon

The Eternal City continues to reveal its innumerable mysteries. One might think that everything has already been discovered, that a 2,700 years old city has no more surprises to reveal. Nothing more wrong. Rome’s subsoils is as alive as its external surface.

Just think that taking a walk in Corso Vittorio Emanuele means walking over the drainage channel of the Terme di Agrippa, which carried the wastewater from there to the Tiber and which today is a long tunnel. And having a stroll in via del Corso is equivalent to walking over the terminal stretch of via Flaminia, a paved road that dates back to 223 BC.

The archaeological investigations following the opening of a hole in Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon have brought to light the ancient imperial flooring. The seven travertine slabs, which are located at an altitude of about 2.30 / 2.70 meters below the road surface with dimensions of about 80 by 90 centimeters for a thickness of 30 centimeters, were first found in the 1990s of the last century, on the occasion of the construction of a tunnel of underground utilities (polifera), and the excavation was surveyed and documented.

“After more than twenty years from their first discovery – Daniela Porro, special superintendent of Rome explains – the slabs of the ancient pavement of the square in front of the Pantheon emerge intact, protected by a layer of fine pozzolan.”

In imperial times, the square was much larger than the current one and opened in front of the Pantheon, the temple dedicated to all the gods built by Agrippa between 27 and 25 BC. The area was completely renovated in the second century after Christ by the emperor Hadrian, and the square was also raised and again paved. The altitudes where the slabs are located, now brought to light, appear to be pertinent to the Hadrianic phase of the complex.

The construction site will continue in the next few days for water restoration and with further archaeological investigations by the Special Superintendence of Rome in collaboration with the Capitoline Superintendence for Cultural Heritage.

“Rome never ceases to amaze us. The slabs of the ancient pavement of the square in front of the Pantheon that were discovered in the 90s re-emerged. A wonderful testimony to the history of our city and our precious historical and cultural heritage “, the mayor of the Capital, Virginia Raggi, said on Twitter.

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