Protests as Vatican `vandalism' approved
Saturday 11 December 1999
The decision was greeted with howls of protest from environmental groups who accused the city authorities of bulldozing their heritage.
Although experts from the Culture Ministry advised that the wall be left where it was pending further digging, the government has ordered it to be dismantled.
The pounds 28m building nicknamed "God's garage" will hold 90 tourist coaches and several hundred cars. Visitors will leave the car park on escalators that will take them through a shopping mall before depositing them in St Peter's Square.It should be ready for Easter.
Franco Bassanini, the Cabinet Under-Secretary said the solution would "protect the remains and allow full use of the car park which is fundamental to avoid inconvenience and traffic congestion for pilgrims and Romans".
The environmental group Italia Nostra, described the decision as "shameful".
Work came to a standstill in August after the discovery of several frescoed rooms. It was initially thought to be the domus of Agrippina, the mother of Caligula, but further examination showed it to be a villa from the 2nd century AD. The frescoes have been removed to prevent damage from rain and excavation is continuing.
Archaeologists said that in building the car park construction companies destroyed precious tombs of Christian martyrs, dating to Nero's time. Heritage experts were not given access to the excavation and the Vatican is not bound by Italy's strict laws on preserving archaeological remains.
Magistrates have opened an inquiry after the discovery on a rubbish tip outside the capital fragments of mosaics, vases and marble columns, said to come from the site.
The Vatican said: "No archaeological remains were found during the construction of the car-park."
- 2 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Jackie Chan in second place in Forbes' Highest Paid Actors list after magazine includes actors working outside US movie industry
Malaysia issues arrest warrant for Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law after she publishes stories on leader Najib Razak's financial affairs
Natalia Molchanova: World's most successful free-driver is missing and feared dead after disappearing in Mediterranean
Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
£16000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...