City takes advantage of lack of tourists to repave Piazza della Rotonda.
Rome is undertaking works to repave the cobblestones, or sampietrini, at Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon.
News of the 'redevelopment' works - which began last week - was announced on 29 March by Rome mayor Virginia Raggi.
The project comes less than a year after a sinkhole opened up in front of the Pantheon to reveal ancient imperial flooring in Piazza della Rotonda.
The discovery of the seven travertine slabs, located about 2.5 metres below the existing level of the piazza, was in fact a rediscovery, after the flooring was uncovered and sealed up again in the 1990s.
"In front of the Pantheon, one of the wonders of Rome, all the cobblestones will be rearranged," wrote Raggi on Facebook today, praising a project that will redevelop "one of the most beautiful squares in the world."
The mayor, who is seeking re-election later this year, said that the works were planned initially in June but the project has been brought forward to "take advantage of the red zone and the limited movements in the city."
Raggi described the works, coordinated by the local Municipio I authorities, as "excellent news for traders in the entire area."
"And not only that: we will give citizens and tourists an even more beautiful square. Just like we did with Piazza Venezia!," she wrote on Facebook.
In imperial times the piazza was much larger than the current one, opening out in front of the Pantheon, the temple dedicated to all the Roman gods, built by Agrippa between 27 and 25 BC.
The area was completely transformed in the second century AD, under Emperor Hadrian, with the level of the piazza raised and repaved.
In 2019 the Pantheon attracted more than nine million visitors before being closed for extended periods in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic.
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Rome repaves piazza at tourist-free Pantheon
Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy