""Beneath the pavements of monumental Rome, the Rome of the imperial Fora and the great basilicas, lies another Rome, secret and less flamboyant, where everyday buildings open up to reveal unsuspected treasures of art and history. This is subterranean Rome. Though perhaps somewhat less magnificent or picturesque than the city above ground, it is equally - or even more - evocative and fascinating. Like a kind of Atlantis, buried beneath its centuries-old covering, its gardens, temples, baths and nympheums tell us a story of ancient times, made up of light and life, but also of shadows, persecution and death. Here we find the mysterious temples dedicated to the cult of the god Mithras that seem to bring alive the magical atmosphere of initiation and sacrifice. Here too are nympheums, places of pleasure and physical and spiritual refreshment; columbaria with their astonishing funerary architecture; hypogeums and underground passages that still preserve precious works of art beneath churches, palaces, and even in the basements of unpromising-looking houses. However, subterranean Rome does not consist only of mysterious and sacred places, for we also find urban and secular structures like the quarters of the Seventh Cohort of Guards, or the famous Golden House, the Domus Aurea. With evocative photographs - several published here for the first time - this book reveals the hidden world of subterranean Rome, guides us through the most fascinating sites, in many cases previously unvisited, and frequently difficult of access. It represents a journey in time that explores the most ancient roots of western culture."--Jacket.
Author: Ivana Della Portella
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