Friday, 13 February 2009

The Roman Servian wall

Just outside Rome's main railway station can be found a stretch of one of the earliest roman walls built around 400 BC. The masons marks and numbers can still be clearly seen. Originally, the walls had earth piled up against their inner,city sides as a form of embankment. This soil buttress provided additional strength against attackers trying to undermine or batter their way through them. Until the eighteenth century many of these earth embankments were still in place but used not for defensive purposes but as vineyards. Tourists rush past Termini into the heart of the city but the Diocletian baths, the sculpture museum and the Michelangelo courtyard are all well worth visiting. The MacDonalds in the basement of the station has an excellent section of the wall incorporated into its structure.

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