‘A unique, unprecedented discovery’: Construction workers discover ‘miniature Pompeii’ buried in Verona

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Construction workers renovating an abandoned cinema in the northern Italian city of Verona came across what has been dubbed a “miniature Pompeii” while excavating the basement of the building.

The ancient site was probably abandoned after a fire, but “the environment has been preserved intact, with the magnificent colors of the walls decorated with frescoes dating from the 2nd century”, said the superintendence of archaeology, fine arts and of the landscape of Verona, Rovigo and Vicenza. in a statement, noting that the newly discovered artwork “reminiscent of a miniature Pompeii.”

The modern building, the former Astra Cinema, has been closed for 20 years, with construction first revealing signs of the lost Roman structure in 2005.

The 2nd century ruins contain charred wooden furniture and the collapsed remains of the ceiling. Its original purpose has not yet been identified, but there was a heating system in the walls and floor, which is tiled with decorative tesserae.

The country’s culture ministry told the Independent it was “a unique find, unprecedented in Italy”.

An ancient Roman mosaic discovered near Verona is being excavated and preserved. Photo courtesy of the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Verona, Rovigo and Vicenza.

Other recent archaeological finds near Verona include an incredibly well-preserved Roman mosaic floor from the foundations of a lost Roman villa outside the present town of Negrar di Valpolicella. It was found buried under vines and is thought to date back to the 3rd century.

Local officials hope to open the historic site to the public and are considering a proposal from a private company to sponsor preservation work.

In southern Italy, the city of Pompeii was notoriously destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. It remained buried under layers of volcanic ash until excavations began in the 18th century, revealing d old Roman residences in a remarkable state of preservation. .

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