by Aivy Nguyen

All roads lead to Rome. As the saying goes, it should come as no surprise that there are nearly 2.8 million inhabitants living in the capital city of Italy today. Extending further out, the entire Roman metropolitan area is home to over 4 million people. [1] Rome like any other city -large or small- needs methods of transportation to get from one place to another. The movement of people and goods around the city is essential for the health and livelihood of the city. Whether it is transit to work, school, or the grocery store, the movement of people is the harmony of a city (see Figure 1 for aesthetically pleasing view of Rome).

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Figure 1: The view of central Rome from Gianicolo in Trastevere.

In Rome, the idea of transportation and movement dates back to ancient times. Some of the cobbled roads of Ancient Rome are still intact and used today. Throughout the years, the means of transportation have drastically improved. Today, locals and tourists alike have a plethora of transportation options to choose from. From private cars to taxis to a metro bus, the options are abundant. While there are many options, some choices are more economical and efficient than others. A popular pick for local Romans and tourists is the subway system.

1. History

Rome is referred to as “The Eternal City” due to its long, rich history that dates back to its founding in 752 BC [1]. Throughout the following two and a half thousands plus years of history after its start, Rome has had several defining periods.

Figure 2: A part of the Appian Way, one of the oldest roads in Rome.

The first era was the Kingdom of Rome. This was the time when Rome was ruled by a monarchy. During this time, there was only settlement on and around the Palatine Hill and along the east bank of the Tiber River. Several major building projects such as the Cloaca Maxima and the Servian Wall were completed under the rule of the Kingdom. [2] The monarch was overthrown sometime around 500 BC. With the fall of the Kingdom, the Roman Republic was born. Democracy ruled the republic. There were two consuls, who were elected annually by the citizens and senate, who with advice from the senate decided on the laws and regulations for the city. The government of the Roman Republic is very similar to the political set up of the United States today. Although there is a defined hierarchy of power, checks and balance was built into the system prevent abuse of power. The Republic was a fairly efficient time in Roman history. Some of the infrastructures from the Republic are still standing today. The Appian Way (see Figure 2) and Appia Aqueduct are two examples. [2] The Appian Way was one of the first roads constructed in Rome.

During this era, Rome flourished as a city. The population increased and the area of the city began to expand. Roman expansion was also increased due to military conquest. With such a vast kingdom, the Romans began to constructed roads that traveled over larger distances. Via Flamina was constructed for travel between across Rome and out to the Adriatic Sea on the opposite coast of Italy. [2]

The fall of the Republic was marked by the rise of Julius Cesar and the rise of Imperial Rome. [2] Imperial Rome is defined by Emperors and their massive building projects. This era is the height of ancient Roman civilization. During this time, baths, buildings, and roads were constantly being constructed. The Roman Empire as a whole also grew to a tremendous size that included central Asia, Western Europe and Northern Africa. Roads were crucial in controlling such a vast empire. Like mentioned earlier, all roads really did lead to Rome at this time. With the fall of Imperial Rome came a dark time for Rome. Masses of people escaped to the countryside as the city was being overtaken and burned to the ground.

The next couple eras had less infrastructure significance and more religious and cultural importance. During the Middle Ages was the birth of the Catholic Church and beginning of the papacy. [2] Many of the most visited churches such as Saint Peter’s and San Clemente were built during this time. The periods after the Middle Ages was the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Art flourished during these years. Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel and the present day Saint Peter’s Basilica was completed. The iconic Trevi Fountain was also built during this time in 1762. [2]
Figure 3: Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini. Mussolini ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943. [3]

The end of the nineteenth century saw the formal entrance of Rome into the country of Italy and the twentieth century would mark the start of the modern era in Rome. Fascism and the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini defined the first half of the twentieth century (see Figure 3 for an image of Mussolini). Although tyrannical, Mussolini was an important influence for the modern city. He ratified and supported construction of neighborhoods around Rome and paved the way for transportation – both public and private.The neighborhoods around Rome were for the most part carefully planned and as the city spread from the center, the need for transportation became very apparent.

Under Mussolini’s regime, some of the major roads used today in Rome where built. This includes Via Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Via del Corso, and Via Guilia (See the map of Via Corso Vittorio Emanuele II below. This is the heart of Historic Rome). Construction on the first subway line was also started in the early 1930s. The progress of these projects were halted by the First World War and at the end of the second one, Mussolini was forced out of power. In 1946, Italy became a Republic again. The second half of the century saw a steady increase in population and growth of the city. Another subway line and more roads were updated and built. Today, Rome is the fifth most populous city in Europe and a city of rich historical layers.

2. The Present

Figure 4: Inside the Mithraism temple under the storage closet of the Opera Teatro, The concrete foundation of the modern building can be seen at the top while the remains of the temple is below.
What exactly does “a city rich of historical layers” mean? It literally means exactly what it says. Rome is a city built on top of a city. Imagine the layers of a piece of lasagna; a layer of noodles followed by tomato sauce and cheese followed by another layer of noodles and so on. In many ways, Rome is a piece of lasagna but more complex and less perfect. The layers of Rome are uneven, random, and basically resembles the art a five year-old makes out of spaghetti and glue. The history beneath the ground is what makes Rome such an intriguing city for archaeologists and historians to study and unravel information about the past. There is so much to discover underground that there is not enough money to fund excavation expeditions or space to hold all of the artifacts exhumed. An example of the layers of Rome is the Mithraism temple beneath the Opera Teatro. In 1931, a Mithraism temple was discovered during the construction of a storage room for the theater. The temple was built in the third century using the existing walls of a second century building (see Figure 4). The temple was abandoned sometime in the fourth century and was not discovered again for some thousands of years. Today, to access the temple ruins, one must walk down a flight of stairs but in the ancient times, the temple was located at street level. Rome literally has another city buried under it.

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Figure 5: An example of traffic congestion in Rome. [4]
While these layers help piece together the past, their existence creates problems for a city trying to modernize. Walking through the streets of Rome, one sees a city trapped in time – the buildings are mostly warm coral and yellow hues, stone or brick and the roads are cobbled, crooked, and winding. But looking the other direction and one sees cars, buses, and motorcycles racing down the street. The city of Rome is trying to move forward with innovation but is held back and limited by the existing infrastructure and remnants of the past. The existing buildings, roads, and buried treasures are impermeable barriers for any radical modernization of Rome.

This problem is equally frustrating for both locals and engineers. Rome is not able to build rapidly because they have to ensure that no artifacts of importance are destroyed in the construction process. Often, plans are changed and routes are shifted to accommodate any discoveries. The strict law of preserving the past makes it extremely hard to improve transportation needs due to the lack of ability to widen roads or put in more subway lines. [4] The shortage of transportation is especially troubling the historic center of Rome where traffic congestion is polluting the air (see Figure 5). Besides polluted air, drivers are losing patience having to sit through horrific traffic.

Presently, there are only two subway lines in Rome. The two lines are known as Linea A and Linea B. Linea A runs east to west across the city and Linea B runs north to south (an interesting fact is Linea B was actually constructed and opened before Linea A). The lines form an X through the city (see Figure 6). [4] Notably absent is subway service to central Rome, where the ancient city was stood. This area was not purposely forgotten and skipped over, but rather too enriched with history to be experimented with. The city is in the process of building a third line, Linea C, which will service this historic area, but the tiered layers of the past is providing more complications and delays that were not foreseen. The biggest dilemma is the discovery of artifacts and the delays incurred while archaeologists review the findings for importance.

Figure 6: A map of the two subway lines serving Rome. Linea A is in red while Linea B is in blue. [4]

Even though the subway does not serve every area in Rome, it is still a popular choice among the locals and tourists. For the local commuters, the subway is an escape from the traffic congestion that plagues the streets. Roman streets are not the widest or smoothest so lanes are limited and speeds remain low. While the distance between locations may be small, the transit time is usually a lot longer than what Google Maps tells you. By riding the subway, a person does not have to be bothered by stop lights and traffic. The trains also come frequently enough so that one does not have to worry about waiting lengthy periods for a missed train. The average wait time is seven minutes during normal hours and less than three during rush hour. [5] The subway had an annual ridership of 309.8 million in 2011 according to statistics released by atac Roma, the agency responsible for metro transportation in Rome. [6]

Figure 7: A crowd of people at the entrance to both Linea A and B at Termini station.
Another benefit of the subway is its relative low cost compared to private cars and motorcycles. The cost of a single trip on the subway is €1.50 while an unlimited monthly pass is €35 and the unlimited annual pass retails for €250. [7] It should also be noted that gasoline is a lot more expensive in European countries than it is in the United States. The observed price of gasoline in September 2013 in Rome is about €1.70 per liter. That roughly equates to $8.56 a gallon. With additional costs to maintain and insure an automobile or motorcycle, the subway and other method of public transportation are a huge bargain.
The main access point of the two subway lines is Termini Station (see Figure 7 for an image inside Termini). Located in central Rome, Termini is the only intersection stop between Linea A and Linea B. Termini is the point where most people switch lines in their commute. Termini is a very busy place. The station is the nucleus and the busiest stop of the subway system. At any hour of the day, there will likely be huge waves of people entering and exiting the station. If ever using Termini, one should be prepared to get friendly with the people around you- there is very little space and a lot of people. One should also be cautious to scams and theft. Termini is notorious haven for pick pocket incidents.

2.1 Subway Engineering

The engineering behind the [[#|subway]] system is quite spectacular. In addition to digging the tunnels for the routes, engineers also need to design stations to access the trains. In many ways, the stations are harder to plan and construct because a large area must be cleared underground to provide space for walkways, ticket machines, information booths, and the entrance and exit gates. With so much buried underneath Rome, it is often difficult to find free space to accommodate all these things. This is especially true in the center of Rome. Finding room for the stops has been the greatest challenge for modern day subway construction in the city.

To dig the tunnels, engineers use the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). The TBM can bore through any material from sand to hard rock. [8] The cross-sectional diameter used for the subway tunneling for the new Linea C is 6.71 meters wide. Today, the TBM can excavate 8.5 meters per day, a slow but steady pace. The dirt and soil dug out is taken away on a conveyor and cart system (see Figure 8). The TBM slides the dirt into the cart and then the cart carries it down and out of the tunnel. [4] The TBM is quite massive in size (see Figure 9). The machine normally has to be transported in pieces and assembled once on site due to its size. The negative of the TBM is possible structural damage to surrounding buildings due to the vibration from the machine.


Figure 10: A diagram of the final result of the cut and cover method. [8]

At the beginning of construction of Linea A, engineers used another method called the cut and cover method. The cut and cover method of digging is when engineers dig a deep trench and then cover the dug trench after the completion of the project with a permanent roof of some sort. To stabilize the walls of the trench, engineers will drove piles into the sides of the trench then “place trusses and beams across the trench, using the piles for support”. [8] This ensures that the space is secured and will not collaspe during the construction process. A diagram of a completed cut and cover method subway line is given in Figure 10. The cut and dig method is often cheaper than digging with a TBM since the TBM is a considerably expensive machine. The negative effect of the cut and dig method is it creates a giant crater at whatever site engineers are working at. In the case of subway construction, the hole will most likely be in the middle of a street. In most cases, this method causes major traffic delays and congestion.

Another key consideration for engineers to think about when constructing a subway is water sealing the tunnels. Waterproofing the tunnels is crucial for the structural security of the subway because the ground is a huge source of water. In the past, engineers lined tunnels with asphalt and brick but with advancement in technology and resources, today, engineers often use Shotcrete, a sparayable concrete. It is also common to decorate the sealed lining with some type of stone or tile. [8]

3. Linea A

3.1 Construction

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Figure 11: A map of the route of Linea A. [9]

Mentioned earlier, Linea A was actually the second subway line to open in Rome. The initial proposal for the line was approved in 1959. [9] The proposed route ran from Osteria del Curato (the southeast corner) to Prati (the northwest corner, on the west bank of the Tiber River). Construction began in 1959 near the Tuscolana, which is located by the Osteria del Curato direction of the line. A complete map of the line is shown in Figure 11. The construction started off very slowly and experienced many delays during construction. At first, the engineers used the cut and cover method explained in the Subway Engineering section. This method caused major traffic delays and became a big nuisance for commuters. [9] In addition to creating traffic problems, the construction itself ran into many of its own problems. The biggest problem was running into Ancient ruins and archaeological artifacts.

Rome has tremendous pride in its history and past. Every year, an estimated twenty million tourists flock to Rome to witness its spectacular display of the past. [10] Walking around Rome is like walking through a history textbook. Due to the fact that Rome is such a landmine for archaeological artifacts and ruins, Rome has very strict guidelines to protect artifacts discovered during underground construction. [4] That means that any time engineers run into some ruin, they must halt the process and allow the archaeologists to come study and examine the artifacts before they are allowed to proceed. If the artifact has any significance, construction must be stopped completely and the construction plans must be revised to avoid the site. This happened frequently during the construction of Linea A. The problem of running into important artifacts was especially common in the area of Piazza dell Repubblica, which lies on the perimeter of the heart of central Rome. After much revision, engineers were eventually able to place a stop in that area. [9]

To give some perspective about the delays experienced during the construction of Linea A, below is a table of the opening dates of each segment the line. [9]
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It took more than twenty years to complete the first section of the line. Much of that time was spent waiting for archaeologists to survey any findings, but the project was also delayed for the amount of traffic congestion it caused with the cover and cut method. In fact, the cover and cut method stalled construction by five years at the start. After the break, engineers decided to switch to the TBM for digging. This fixed the traffic congestion but added the new problem of building damage from the vibration of the machine. [9] While the line eventually got done, there was not good cooperation between engineers and archaeologists. The lack of communication and understanding between the two sides made the process a difficult experience for both parties.

3.2 Service

Today, the line serves an estimated half million people daily. [9] The line was expanded in the late 1990s and now reaches to the very outskirts of the city limits. The cars used in Linea A are quite comfortable. The exterior and interior are both modern (see Figure 12). The best amenity of Linea A is the air conditioning available inside the cars. This is especially enjoyable and appreciated in the sweltering Roman summer heat.

Video 1: Tour of Linea A Platform at Termini Station

The line is fairly busy, especially during the week days. When riding the subway during rush hour there is typically no empty seats and seats are typically occupied by elderly or disabled riders. The standing room also gets quite limited, especially the closer you get to Termini. Be prepared to get comfortable with the surrounding riders. Also, be cautious of leaning against the doors. There are points between the Termini and Anagnina stops when entrance and exit doors switch sides.

Overall, Linea A is a comfortable and convenient ride for locals and tourists trying to around Rome. For tourists, there are a couple major attractions reachable by the line. The Spagna stop will drop you off right at the bottom of the Spanish Steps (see Figure 13), while the Ottaviano stop is down the street from the Vatican.

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4. Linea B

4.1 Construction

Figure 16: The theater at Ostia Antica. The theater was restored by Mussolini.

Linea B was the first subway constructed and opened in Rome. The line was proposed and planned in the 1930s in preparation for the World Expo that Italy was hosting in 1942. [10] For the World Expo, Mussolini was constructing a new replica capital neighborhood, today known as the EUR, in the southwest corner of the city. Mussolini proposed the subway because he wanted a fast connection between the main train station of Termini (central Rome) and the EUR. The EUR neighborhood was never completed and the World Expo was never held in Italy due to its entrance into the Second World War in 1942. [11]

Construction on the line started in 1937, but was halted when Italy entered the World War II. There were further delays in the construction due to the death of Mussolini and the end of the Fascist regime. In contrast to the construction of Linea A, the construction of Linea B was a lot quicker (see Figure 14 and Figure 15 for construction pictures). The construction was especially fast during the period before the war. Being a dictator, Mussolini only had to answer to himself. By having an imminent deadline of the World Expo, Mussolini pushed the workers to work at an extremely quick pace. He also chose to ignore much of the historical ruins encountered during digging. Due to the nonchalant attitude towards archaeological artifacts, his workers destroyed a lot of significant pieces during the construction process. [10] Archaeologist believed that much of the base of the ancient palace at the Piazza Bocca della Verita was destroyed and workers also chipped a corner off of the buried foundation of the Coliseum. To further add to their carelessness towards the historical past, much of the marble slabs and relics found were carried off and tossed in the countryside. [11] It is a little surprising that Mussolinicared so little about artifacts uncovered during digging. During his regime, he spent a lot of time and money restoring and excavating the ancient ruins in and around Rome. For example, he restored the abandoned port of Ostia (see Figure 16).

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After the war and his death, construction on Linea B continued in 1948. Without the tyrannical power of Mussolini, progress slowed down because archaeologists wanted to study any artifacts discovered and check for significance. Similar to the construction of Linea A, routes were now altered if they crossed any important archaeological sites. [11]

Linea B officially opened on February 9th, 1955. Although running, the line was only seven miles long and only about half of the length of Mussolini’s original vision. [10] This segment of Linea B only served the southwest area of Rome. The line was not extended to the northeast until 1990 when service between Termini and Rebibbia was built. The previous tracks were also modernized at this time. Later in 2012, Linea B got forked at the Bologna stop. Another branch with four additional stops was added. [11]

4.2 Service

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Figure 17: The graffiti covered exterior of a train on Linea B. Linea B is approximately 20 years older than Linea A.

Today, Linea B has twenty five stops and 18.151 km of track and an additional 4 km branch. The line serves an estimated 300,000 people a day. [11] In comparison to Linea A, the cars of Linea B are much older and are in more of a dilapidated state. From the outside, the cars are covered in graffiti and look like they belong sitting on an abandoned train track (see Figure 17). It should also be noted that the cars in Linea B are not air conditioned so the cars can get very warm. One should expect the same crowds on Linea B as Linea A.

Similar to Linea A, Linea B has a couple important and busy stops. One of the most popular stop on the line is Colosseo. The Colosseo stop delivers you right in front of the Coliseum (see Figure 18). Take one step outside the station and Coliseum blinds you with its magnificence and glory. While the view is pretty, do not get too careless and mesmerized. The area around the subway entrance is a notorious spot for theft and pick pocketing. Distracted tourists taking pictures are prime targets. Another busy stop is the Piramide stop that also serves as the connection to the Ostiense Train Station. The Roma-Lido route leaves from this station and heads out towards Ostia. This station is the gateway to visit the ruins of Ostia Antica or a beach day on the Mediterranean coast.

Figure 18: Outside the Colosseo stop (L) and the view from the exit of the Colosseo stop (R).

5. Linea C

Noticeably absent from the current subway network is service through the historical center of Rome. Based on all the historical information mentioned earlier in the article, it should come as no surprise. Located in the heart of Ancient Rome, the central area is littered with historical treasures – all lying undiscovered and buried underground of course. Even with the technology available today, the task of planning and building a subway system that does not disrupt the past layers of Rome is a very difficult task that requires diligent coordination between archaeologists and engineers. The new line to be constructed is Linea C (see Figure 19).
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Figure 19: Advertisement of the new Linea C on Via del Fiori Imperiali.

5.1 Construction

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Figure 20: Map and route information for the new Linea C. [14]

When the city of Rome decided to go ahead and construct a new subway line, Linea C, that tackled the problematic area, they were unsure what to expect. Figure 20 provides a map of the route. Going in, they knew the job would require meticulous attention to detail from area mapping to route planning to digging method and depth. What they did not expect was years of delays and stagnation due to the overwhelming amount of archaeological ruins discovered in the digging process.

The route of Linea C bisects the heart of central Rome. With a stretch from the Coliseum to Piazza Venezia to Largo Argentina then straight down Via Corso Vittorrio Emanuele II, Linea C will service one of the busiest sections of the city. The entire line is approximately 25.6 kilometers or roughly 16 miles. Majority of the line will be underground, except a small section of 10 kilometers (about 6.21 miles) that will utilize the old Rome/Pantano railway line and be open air. [4] The route of Linea C was chosen to fill in the glaring gaps of the two existing lines. In addition to filling the hole in the historic center, Linea C will also reach the northern part of the city that the two existing lines fail to access. The entire project is expected to cost $4.62 billion with "70% of the funding coming from the state, 18% from the municipality of Rome, and 12% from Lazio region." [12]

Due to the abundance of archaeological ruins and the overall sensitive nature of the area where Linea C is being built, engineers have made strategic decisions to avoid as much of the ruins as possible. The tunnels for Linea C will be 90-100 feet underground, deeper than any other Roman subway, to avoid the layers of Ancient Rome, which sit no deeper than 70 feet below the surface. [4], [5] The tunnels will also be 29 feet wide in diameter instead of the 20 feet in standard subway tunnels. The extra space will allow engineers to divert the route in case the planned route runs into any important archaeological findings. Luigi Napoli, technical director at Roma Metropolitane, puts it best, “ ‘[Rome] can’t plan. We have to go straight to the field and see what challenges await us.’” [5]

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Figure 21: Tunneling of the new Linea C route. [4]

As expected, the biggest issue plaguing progress of the Linea C construction is archaeological ruins. While engineers and archaeologists expected to run into some artifacts, the amount they have encountered was unexpected. Started in 2007, construction on Linea is going on five years now with completion dates continuously being pushed back. Throughout the past five years, a large portion of the findings have left the construction progress at a complete standstill. Due to the strict Roman laws on conservation, engineers have been forced to wait as artifacts are examined and studied. So far, archaeologists have found a plethora of buildings and remains from the past Roman civilizations. The list includes imperial homes with full kitchens, remnants of the medieval Via Flamina, two small children encased in their burial tombs, pavement from the eighth century, and ruins of a sixth century copper factory with the original melting ovens. [10] Figure 21 shows tunnel construction on the new Linea C line.

Most of the time, the archaeologist will examine the artifact at its location. If it is deemed unimportant, they will photograph it and record its location then give the engineers the go ahead to continue construction, thus destroying the artifact. For the more significant pieces, they are excavated and transported to a museum for storage.The plan is to use them later for artwork displays in the subway stations. [10] On a couple occasions, construction has run into important, expansive ruins that have completely shut down and diverted construction. This happened at the proposed station by the Pantheon. The station planned in the area had to be completely scraped when the base of an Imperial palace was discovered. [10]

Figure 22: Map of historical sites along the route of Linea C. [4]

In fact, engineers are having the most difficulty finding places to build stations. The stretch between Largo Argentina and the Tiber River will not have any stops because there is no room to accommodate one and preserve the buried history. Figure 22 shows some of the important monuments and buildings Linea C will run through. While it is impractical to have no stops for the 2.5 kilometer, there is no other solution- engineering cannot win every battle against history. [4] A common question being asked by engineers, archaeologist and locals alike is how much is too much? This is in reference to how much time and money should be spent on excavation and trying to recovery every piece of the past. With museums already flooded with frescoes, statues and Ancient Roman artifacts, there simply is not enough space to house everything. There might be too much history and culture in Rome.

5.2 Colosseo/Fiori Imperiali Station

Figure 23: Aerial view of the intersection between Linea B and the new Linea C. [4]

The current daunting task for engineers is the design and construction of the Colosseo/Fori Imperiali Station that will lie by the Coliseum, Forum, and Victor Emmanuel Monument in Piazza Venezia. Part of the task will be engineering an underground walkway that connects the station to the Colosseo station of Linea B (see Figure 23). This station is part of the third building phase that started in April of 2013 and is expected to take at least seven years to complete. The lengthy timeline is due to the quality of the soil in the area and the fact that there is a sizable amount of ruins believed to be in the area. [12]

The first obstacle for engineers is to stabilize the soil to ensure that the surrounding buildings and monuments do not sink in the construction process. The area where the station lies is volcanic soil with a mixture of loose soils and soft rocks – not the ideal conditions for a station that will lie deep underground. [13] The structures will also lie up to 15 meters below ground water levels, thus increasing the risk for moisture and water seepage. Engineers are testing different mixtures of mortar (to be used for back fill) for permeability and water resistivity. The biggest concern and measure of success is the long-term hardening strength and impermeability of the material. [14]

Another similar concern besides buildings sinking is the possible damage from the vibrations of the TBM. To prevent and limit any damage, motion sensors have been attached to the Cloaca Maxima to monitor any structural changes as digging takes place. [4]


The structure of the station and the connection to Linea B is a large challenge itself. Unlike any of the present subway stations, Fori Imperiali will lay a lot further underground with the depth projected to be 24 meters (about 78 feet). [4] This is still not as deep as the train tunnel level but still a good distance below ground. Engineers are planning to build a station in tiers so the ride up and down from the train platform is not one long, steep ride (see Figure 24 and 25).

The Colosseo/Fiori Imperiali station will be the highlight of Linea C. The city is very proud of its decision to tackle such a complicated project and have kept the public well informed of their plans and progress (see Figure 26). The project contractors have erected a giant wall filled with explanations and detailed diagrams of the projected station along the sidewalk of Via del Fori Imperiali. The sidewalk becomes a log jam during the day because pedestrians stop and read the information as they walk to the Coliseum. Due the high number of tourists in the area, the information is written in both Italian and English

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Figure 26: Diagram of the station layout from the information wall erected by project contractors (L), and information regarding the third phase of the Linea C construction (R).

5.3 Completion

Due to all the unexpected delays, the completion date for Linea C has changed frequently. With traffic congestion worsening every year, locals are tired of waiting for relief. When Linea C finally opens, the line will serve an estimated 24,000 people an hour and hopefully reduce automobile traffic and cut the air pollution in the historic center by half. [5] Luckily, the northern section of the line is slated to open in 2015 with the entire line to be running sometime between 2018 and 2020. [4] As of 2013, construction in the northern section is complete and construction in the historic center and southern section of the route is in progress. Whether Linea C will actually open on those dates is completely unpredictable. It will depend entirely on what engineers run into underground.

6. Future

Compared to other major European countries, the subway system in Rome is small. With only two running lines, most of the city is not within a ten minute walk of the subway. To add more lines and create a more efficient and desirable mode of transportation will take extreme compromise and cooperation between engineers, historians, archaeologist, and government officials. The future expansion of the subway is in serious doubt after the headache Linea C is becoming.

6.1 Linea D

Already proposed is a fourth line, Linea D. Linea D will fill in even more gaps where there is no present service. The plan is to have Linea D run almost parallel to Linea B but further west (see Figure 27). The line would cover more of the area along the Tiber River and closer to the heart of the historic center of Rome. Plans for the line are still in the early stages. There is no released schedule for start or completion date. This line is more of a fuzzy idea than an actual plan at this point. [4]

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Figure 27: A map of all the subway lines to service Rome in the future. Linea A (red) and Linea B (blue) are the only routes in service while Linea C (green) is under construction and Linea D (yellow) is just a wishful proposal. [4]

7. Personal Outlook

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Figure 28: A very enthusiastic and excited subway rider. (photo credit to the nice lady on the subway who saved me from having to take a selfie. Grazie!)
From my personal experience, I love the subway system in Rome. In fact, I enjoy riding the subway in any city (see Figure 28). I am a huge supporter of public transportation and think the subway is the greatest transportation invention ever because you never to deal with traffic or stop lights. Your travel is direct and continuous. Nothing is worse than wasting time sitting in traffic.

Analyzing the conflict between modernizing and preserving the past, I believe that at some point enough is enough. While I love history and find it fascinating, the mysterious nature and its uncertainty adds to the intrigue. Although it would be nice to know every detail about the past, I find it exciting to speculate and compose theories with the knowledge already available. History is like a quick sand - you get sucked in and can never escape or find the source. We should be never get to the point where there is nothing left to find out.

In the more specific case of Rome, I think that they have learned from their experiences in the past and find the balance between modernizing and preservation. The fact that the government banned excavation for the sake of finding artifacts tells you that they are no longer willing to spend money and time looking for pieces to the puzzle of the past. This should be interpenetrated as a step forward. While I realize that Rome is filled with endless old buildings and artifacts buried underground, there comes the point where you cannot turn every site into a tourist attraction. Imagine if a house from Imperial Rome was found perfectly intact in the middle of Via del Corso. Do you excavate and build a museum in the middle of the street and divert traffic around it? Rome is a great city as it is now. There are more museums and more things to see that one can ever possible visit and see in three weeks yet along a year. While I am not supporting to implement Mussolini’s mentality of plow through everything, I think Rome should worry less about saving everything and look towards the future and modernity.

8. References

[1] Wikipedia. (2013, September 10) Timeline of Rome History [Online]. Available:

[2] Wikipedia. (2013, September 10) Rome [Online]. Available:

[3] Wikipedia. (2013, September 10) Benito Mussolini. Available:

[4] A. Morabito. (2013, September 9) The Metro C Challenge [Powerpoint].

[5] S. Faris. (2008, April). Rome’s Developing Subway [Online]. Available:

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