Underground Rome: The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas

On the Via Latina, near the Sepulcher of the Scipios, is the Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas. Columbarium comes from the Latin columba, which means “dove.”  A columbarium was literally a dovecot, where birds were raised for their eggs and as food.   When cremation burials became common, ash-urns were deposited in small niches that were carved into tombs walls.  The niches produced a dovecot effect, which gave this type of tomb its name.

Underground Rome: Vicus Caprarius

Around the corner from the Trevi Fountain, is the Cinema Trevi. Faced with excessive humidity, the movie theater's owners probed deeper and deeper to discover the root of the problem. Their explorations led to the birth of an archeological area approximately 27 feet under the modern street level. Referred to as Vicus Caprarius or “Goat Alley” in Latin, the site contains two Imperial Roman apartment buildings and lots of natural running water!

Underground Rome: The Nymphaeum of Via Annibaldi

"How can a city be built in layers?" you ask. It is common in Rome! Imagine hundreds, if not thousands, of ancient Roman buildings in brick and concrete collapsing... then add the filth and mud of floods... and voila', ground level rises! Incredible examples of this phenomenon can be seen at San Clemente, the Vicus Caprarius, and here at the Nymphaeum (or water feature) under Via Annibaldi...

Underground Rome: The Roman Homes on the Celian Hill

The Celian Hill is not on most tourists' itinerary...  Spangled with churches and a large park, the Hill still retains some of its sleepy, Medieval flavor.  During ancient Roman days, however, this was a bustling neighborhood, full of middle-class and proletariat housing together with stores so full of merchandise that their owners piled goods for sale on the sidewalk...