The archaeological and artistic heritage of Rome is spectacularly rich and varied, reflection more than two and a half millennia of occupation. It is one that has seen constant change, losses and additions, reconstructions and restructuring. This is brought out today online by two reports.
The first, on the MailOnline site, is about the opening as a museum of the remains of a substantial and opulent domus on the Aventine from the Imperial era which has survived beneath modern flats. The illustrated report can be seen at Roman villa packed with mosaics unearthed under block of flats
The second is a post on the Liturgical Arts Journal about Sta Maria in Cosmedin and how the facade was classicised in the eighteenth century and then returned to a reconstruction of the original form in the 1890s. This has a fine selection of pictures of the basilica and can be seen at Before and After (and Before): Santa Maria in Cosmedin
The report leaves it to the reader as to which version of the facade they prefer. I have to say I am not really sure - restoring the original form runs the risk as it says of archaeoligising or even “false archaeology”, but part of me agrees with aiming for the original design. On the other hand the eighteenth century frontage had charm and was pretty in its distinctive style, and probably more pleasing to the eye than the restored original.