Rome Will Rebury Ancient Stables It Can’t Afford to Excavate

roman-ruins-reburied
Circus Maximus, site of Emperor Augustus's stables.
Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

As the city of Rome observed the 2000th anniversary of the death of the great Roman emperor Augustus this week, it had hoped to reveal his recently unearthed stables alongside Circus Maximus to the public, but due to lack of funds it will instead rebury the structure. The remnants of the extensive stable facility near Via Giulia, which housed the horses that raced in the nearby circus, are being covered over with sheets of waterproof cloth as workers prepare to inter them once again, the Telegraph reports.

The emperor’s stables first came to light in 2009 during excavations for the construction of an underground parking lot. In addition to providing clues to ancient Roman stable architecture, graffiti on the building’s walls testified to the deep-rooted allegiances Romans had for the four teams of horse-racers who shared the stables. Two years after the discovery of the building, a plan was set in motion to excavate the ruins and open them to the public, but that initiative was abandoned earlier this year because of budget cuts.

The stables aren’t the only botched restoration project casting a shadow on Rome’s Augustus celebrations. The emperor’s mausoleum, long used as a de facto public bathroom and now cordoned off behind fences, is similarly languishing. It is expected to reopen to the public in 2016.

Neither restoration project was sufficiently glamorous to attract the attention—and funding—of an Italian luxury fashion company, an increasingly common practice in the economically depressed country (see “Luxury Brands Fund Restoration of Italy’s Monuments“).


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