Ancient Roman ruins discovered during works in Piazza Pia ahead of the 2025 Jubilee

14 June 2024


A press conference has been held in Rome to announce details of the archaeological finds recently uncovered under the Piazza Pia construction site at Castel Sant'Angelo. The main discovery is of a large Fullonica, a public space for washing clothes in ancient Rome. The area was the site of important suburban imperial residences, including the  horti Agrippinæ and horti Domitiæ, which bordered the right bank of the River Tiber, which would have overlooked the river in a picturesque setting filled with porticoes, promenades and gardens.


Speakers at the press conference included the Italian Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, the Mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, the Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the Special Superintendent of Rome, Daniela Porro and the Chief Executive Officer of Anas, Aldo Isi.


“We have to take a common-sense approach, a balance between safeguarding our historical heritage and the need to modernize the urban fabric of the city,” said Minister Sangiuliano.


“Piazza Pia will come out further enriched from this. Here is a classic case of how institutional collaboration and a proper approach to the protection and valuing of our cultural heritage can lead to a doubly positive outcome. It is only because of the building works that we have discovered this beautiful Fullonica and the various other finds, which we will be able to present and protect, but, at the same time, we will also be able to complete the underpass within timescale", said the mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri.


“I must say that when they informed me what had happened and when I saw the photo of the discovery I felt quite moved, because the Jubilee, as I often say, is a people's event and the discovery of an ancient Roman laundry took me back in time,” underlined Archbishop Rino Fisichella. “It means this part of Rome will once again be made visible to everyone, and as a citizen of Rome I can only express a sense of profound gratitude for that. It is quite significant that right in the area where we are trying to create a space for the Jubilee to make meetings between people easier - because this is what the new Piazza Pia will be - a laundry is found, which was the meeting place of the people, especially the women, of the time. An additional vote of thanks is due also to the authorities for the delivery time of the project, which has always been guaranteed and we have always believed will be met, despite the fact that findings such as this, if they had happened in the past, would have blocked everything".


“The emergency archeology operation put in place for the construction of the Piazza Pia underpass must protect any finds and discoveries,” explained the Special Superintendent of Rome, Daniela Porro. “In this case the conservation will happen through their relocation which will also mean more recognition for them. We have proposed relocating them to Castel Sant'Angelo, Hadrian's tomb built in the Horti di Domitia, which is the context where the newly uncovered structures probably originally stood".


“Today's meeting is important because it shows how indispensable it is to have positive synergy and maximum collaboration between all the institutions involved if we are to achieve our objective. It is also important because it recognizes the important archaeological finds which have been uncovered, and for which we have made space available after their temporary transfer,” concluded the CEO of Anas, Aldo Isi.