The events of the XXth Century, world wars and changing governments who had a specific political program wreak great havoc on many cities in Europe.
Rome is one such city which saw a new era of radical development with the unification of Italy into one single entity in 1870, then in 1890 the building of the giant white marble monument to Italian Unity and King Victor Emmanuelle II which necessitated the complete removal of the Ancient ARX of Rome and the Northern spur of the Capitoline hill on which it stood, and as of 1928 the complete redevelopment of the Imperial Fora of antiquity, liberating them of the neighbourhoods build on them during the middle-ages and the opening of new triumphal avenues for military parades.
Rome is a city of many strata and many ancient buildings built in different era and rebuild again and again on top of other constructions to suit the Imperial building program, so when you visit the Forum today what you see is of the period after 50AD and in some cases like the colosseum built at the time of the Flavian Dynasty around 70AD and the Arch of Constantine next to it in 315AD. Everything else from the time prior to Augustus or the more ancient time of the Republic is buried underground, think of the Comitium built in 300BC a place of assembly where Romans voted, this area in front of the Senate building was recently excavated it is located several meters below ground today was once above ground just a feature of the changing landscape of old Rome.
In the last 20 years Rome Metropolitan system has been building new subway lines C and D and this has been plagued by enormous delays and even larger budget overrun. The problem is all the strata of history which creates a need for archeological studies which can take a long time years perhaps.
When Line C entered the Imperial Fora area about 20 years ago now, massive problems appeared, one being what to do with all the discoveries of ancient buildings some of important historical nature.
This photo shows the area of Piazza Venezia, the centre of Rome, the areas in blue indicate where major discoveries have been made. The subway stop at Piazza Venezia would be built right across this area. The white monumental building is the Altar to the Italian Nation built about 120 years ago, the Northern spur of the Capitoline hill was completely removed and with it disappeared the ancient citadel of Rome the ARX built some 2700 years ago at the very beginning of the history of Rome. Behind the monument is a Church Santa Maria Aracoeli which is built on the site of the Temple of the Augurs.
Area C on the diagram is the Market of Trajan, area D was a group of apartments Insula, Area B was the famous Athenaeum of Hadrian rediscovered 7 years ago during excavations. Area F and E were Senatorial Villas which can be visited today, obviously homes of powerful and wealthy men which boasted its own private water supply and baths.
Other cities like Naples and Athens have subway systems and managed to find solutions to preserving archeology and have a subway system. In the case of Rome because it was the Capital of the known World for several centuries and a larger city than Athens or Naples in antiquity, the problems are far larger. There have been rumours in the last 2 years that the subway station at Piazza Venezia would not be built but that remains to be seen. At the moment Line C is about to reach the Cathedral of St-John Lateran where it would connect with other subway lines. Will it continue then to the Colosseum area and the Imperial Fora, who knows.
It all comes down to managing modern movement of people in a city of 3 million, the question you hear constantly, Is Rome a Museum or a living City?