Ancient Roman quarter discovered under Via del Tritone

Find comes to light during works to expand Zara department store

Archaeologists in Rome have uncovered the remains of an ancient Roman neighbourhood during excavations along Via del Tritone, just off Via del Corso in the city centre.

The find comes ahead of major construction works by Spanish retail giant Zara which plans to inaugurate its expanded premises in time for the Christmas 2014 market.

The remains include a complex of ancient warehouses and service buildings, as well as residence decorated with mosaics, richly-coloured marble opus sectile floors, and its own spa facility.

Excavations on the 4,000 sqm building site, which extends along Via del Tritone from behind the Zara building, began in 2011. There are plans to preserve the ruins and make them visible to visitors, under the new store.

The discovery comes more than a year after archaeologists came across the ruins of the Vergine Aqueduct, one of the most important in ancient Rome and which, after almost 2,000 years, still supplies water to the Trevi Fountain.

The aqueduct's name derives from the name of its predecessor, Aqua Virgo, constructed by Marcus Agrippa in 19 BC to serve the Campo Marzio district. In 1453 Pope Nicholas V renovated and expanded the Aqua Virgo to enhance the city’s drinking water supply during the Renaissance.

Photo Il Messaggero.