2,000-year-old Rome pyramid getting spotlighted
Archaeologist Leonardo Guarnieri told reporters Wednesday that tours, including of the frescoed burial chamber, are being given twice a month by reservation.
Visitors must crouch as they make their way through a narrow corridor leading to the burial chamber. What happened to Caius Cestius' remains is unknown, Guarnieri said. Inside the chamber, visitors can see an upward-sloping tunnel. He said the restoration has bolstered theories the tunnel was dug out in medieval times, possibly by grave-robbers.
|View of a frescoed chamber of the Pyramid of Cestius |
[Credit: AP/Domenico Stinellis]
Their construction reflected a fashion for Egyptian style in Rome after the conquest of Egypt, but the simple, frescoed figures on the chamber's walls were done in the style of Pompeii, the ancient Roman city near modern-day Naples.
With Rome's heavy pollution blackening and corroding monuments almost as soon as they are restored, the pyramid is being cleaned every few months by a team of free-climbers, to eliminate the need for unsightly and costly scaffolding.
Italy's culture ministry, chronically short of funds to clean, preserve and protect its immense wealth of artworks, architectural gems and ancient monuments, is holding out the pyramid's Japanese patron as a model of cooperation between private and public sectors.
Yuzo Yagi, who heads a clothing and textile company, provided 2 million euros toward the restoration.
Author: Frances D'Emilio | Source: The Associated Press [February 03, 2016]