Too Much Heritage

Italy has so much history, so many sites to preserve and excavate further that it is a burden as well as a blessing. And they discover more regularly. Digging a metro station or even a garden can result in discoveries that will require costly preservation and hold ups.

Culture is Italy’s natural resource, … home to 44 UNESCO World Heritage sites, about 5,000 museums and 60,000 archeological sites, more than any other country in the world.

Just this morning a child discovered a Woolly Mammoth bone on the banks of the river Po.

The country has been mired in all sorts of financial problems for the last decade or so and its cities and monuments started to look a bit rough. Some of the wealthier corporates in Italy stepped up and paid for some recent restorations to help out, Fendi for the Tevi fountain , Bulgari for the Spanish stairs, Tods for the Colosseum. It wasn’t always viewed well; Some newspaper headlines:

Corporate Medicis to the Rescue

To Some Dismay, Italy Enlists Donors to Repair Monuments

The fall of Rome? Italy’s fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage

The Colosseum is undergoing to £20 million rejuvenation project – sponsored by the luxury leather brand Tod’s

Anthony Faiol@IndyVoice Monday 8 September 2014

  • What a difference a year makes, visit July 2014 with scaffolding up under Fendis sponsorship dollar and then again November 2015, they did a beautiful job, dazzling white and crisp.


In Naples, trying to build anything is problematic. The construction of their metro in 1986-1993 cut through 6 epochs of humanity. The museum metro station has made a public display inside the station to showcase the finds.



Museum station (stazione Museo) also displays archaeological remains and exhibits that were unearthed during the construction of the station, while others have been transferred to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.

Other sites in the Centro storico parts of Naples are an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of climbing deeper and deeper below street level to witness for yourself these layers of human history….the church beneath the current church, then the Roman market beneath that, only to find the Greek ruins beneath that. La Neapolis Sotterrata beneath San Lorenzo Maggiore is well worth a visit to see this exact example.

Rome is currently struggling away trying to complete line C of their Metro.This line is not yet connected to the other two metro lines.


Line c construction

Romes metro line C was planned to be completed far sooner. Today it is years behind schedule and is now being estimated for completion in 2022. One station has had to be completely axed from construction due to extensive archeological finds. Largo di Torre Argentina.

In May, while building the metro line C, near the Baths of Caracalla, military barracks of 39 rooms for the Roman Praetorian guards from the 2nd Century AD have been found along with skeletins, bronze jewellery and mosaics, just 9 metres below bustling modern Rome.

Again, this has had a major impact on the completion of the metro.

Allowing historical heritage and modernisation to coexist: this is the great challenge involved in Line C, which encounters historic buildings and monuments of great value. The Historical Centre of Rome is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


In 2009, during preliminary excavations works for the station at Piazza Venezia (near the Capitoline Hill) remains of what has been identified as emperor Hadrian‘s Athenaeum were found.

It all makes for a richly interesting country for a tourist but is a challenge financially and functionally for those that live here.


One thought on “Too Much Heritage

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s