Broken toilet leads to find of ancient ruins beneath Italian restaurant

12th of May 2015
Broken toilet leads to find of ancient ruins beneath Italian restaurant

A blocked toilet in an Italian building has changed the life of its owner who was planning to open a trattoria on the site.

Lucian Faggiano was trying to find the offending sewage pipe at the property in Puglia, Italy, when he made a fascinating discovery.

After digging a trench beneath the building he found a network of underground rooms and corridors that housed Roman devotional bottles, ancient vases, hidden frescoes and what are thought to be etchings from the Knights Templar.

Investigators quickly shut down the site and warned Faggiano that his restaurant project constituted an unofficial archaeological dig. Heritage officials now believe the building's foundations cover 2,000 years of history and incorporate a Roman room used to store grain as well as the basement of a Franciscan convent where nuns prepared the bodies of the dead.

Eight years later the building is now the Museum Faggiano. According to a retired cultural heritage official involved with the excavation: "The Faggiano house has layers that are representative of almost all of the city's history, from the Messapians to the Romans, from the medieval to the Byzantine time."

The Faggiano family has become fascinated by the history beneath their building. But they have had to foot the bill for the dig and Faggiano admits there have been other frustrations.

"At one point I couldn't take it anymore," he said. "I bought cinder blocks and was going to cover it up and pretend it had never happened."

But the good news is that he still plans to open a restaurant, though in another location. And he also eventually managed to locate the troublesome sewage pipe - and unblock the toilet.



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