A 1,500-year-old church which was buried under debris from an earthquake for more than a millennium has reopened to the public after a painstaking restoration of some of the world’s earliest Christian art.
The sixth-century church of Santa Maria Antiqua is located in the ancient Roman Forum, at the bottom of the Palatine Hill, where Roman emperors lived for centuries in sumptuous palaces.
It was buried under rubble by an earthquake in AD 847 and was only rediscovered in 1900 during archaeological excavations. It has taken more than 30 years to restore its exquisite interior, which is decorated with multi-coloured frescoes of saints, martyrs, angels and emperors. The project, which was funded by the Italian government and the World Monuments Fund, cost £2 million.