Archaeologists In Italy Just Unearthed A Large Roman Swimming Pool Beneath A School

Published June 5, 2024

Alongside the marble-lined swimming pool, archaeologists discovered several columns and a statue of Diana, the goddess of the hunt.

Roman Pool Vibo Valentia

Facebook/Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape for Reggio Calabria and Vibo ValentiaRemnants of the Roman pool lined with colored marble.

Recently, the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape for Reggio Calabria and Vibo Valentia announced the discovery of an ornamental bath complex under a school in southern Italy.

Excavations of the ground floor and foundation of the P.E. Murmura school in Vibo Valentia revealed evidence of ancient Roman buildings just beneath the structure. Archaeologists ultimately unearthed a massive swimming pool alongside dozens of artifacts dating back 2,000 years.

A School Renovation Project Uncovers A Roman Pool

Roman Bath Column

Facebook/Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape for Reggio Calabria and Vibo ValentiaRuins of a column at the site.

The P.E. Murmura school in Vibo Valentia, Italy, recently underwent renovations to carry out seismic upgrades that involved excavating much of the ground floor. Archaeologists excavated 32 rooms as well as the building’s foundation.

During the project, the ruins of an ancient Roman bath complex emerged. The bathhouse featured niches, columns, and a large swimming pool, or natatio, lined with colorful marble.

Beneath 13 of the 32 rooms, archaeologists found ancient artifacts and masonry. They dated many of the relics to the Late Republic (200 B.C.E. to 27 B.C.E.) and early Imperial Rome (27 B.C.E. to the 3rd century C.E.).

Now, experts are working to determine how the bath complex fit into ancient Vibo Valentia’s society.

The Discoveries Made Alongside The Ancient Bathhouse

Roman Pool Statue

Facebook/Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape for Reggio Calabria and Vibo ValentiaThe ruins of a Roman statue of Diana (Artemis) discovered at the site.

Archaeologists believe the bath complex was part of a larger network of Roman structures that were uncovered in the area in the 1970s. These include both private residences (domus) and public facilities such as the pool. In its heyday, the bathhouse would have served as an important feature in the city of Vibo Valentia.

“The findings are located near domus and thermal buildings, known for mosaics discovered from the 1970s of the last century,” the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape for Reggio Calabria and Vibo Valentia explained in a Facebook post. “The orientation of the restored structures within the school coincides with that of the already known structures, dealing with, most likely, a natural proceeding of the public/residential quarter that is already partially investigated.”

Researchers also discovered many artifacts in and around the bath complex, but the most important find was a fragmented statue of the goddess Diana. Archaeologists have already sent the marble figure to Vibo Valentia’s National Archaeological Museum “Vito Capialbi,” where it is currently on exhibition.

Overall, this most recent discovery has added to Vibo Valentia’s ancient legacy and serves as a reminder of the history that is often right below our feet.

“The results not only enrich the historical and cultural heritage of the city of Vibo Valentia, but also represent an important resource for the community and a potential attraction for cultural tourism,” officials stated.


After reading about the ancient Roman swimming pool discovered beneath a school in southern Italy, dive into the story of Marcus Junius Brutus, the Roman senator who orchestrated Julius Caesar’s death. Then, read about Caesarion, the love child of Caesar and Cleopatra.

author
Amber Morgan
author
Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
editor
Cara Johnson
editor
A writer and editor based in Charleston, South Carolina and an assistant editor at All That's Interesting, Cara Johnson holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Washington & Lee University and an M.A. in English from College of Charleston and has written for various publications in her six-year career.
Citation copied
COPY
Cite This Article
Morgan, Amber. "Archaeologists In Italy Just Unearthed A Large Roman Swimming Pool Beneath A School." AllThatsInteresting.com, June 5, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/roman-pool-vibo-valentia. Accessed June 21, 2024.