Ancient Roman Cloaca Maxima gets a face lift

 Rome, 10 January - Small groups of travellers travelling with Vita Italian Tours to Rome enjoy a guided visit of the Roman Forum including the original starting point of the Cloaca Maxima. The Cloaca Maxima, (Giant Sewer) which burrows beneath the Roman Forum before emptying into the Tiber River, pre dates the Roman Empire. The mile long tunnel was originally dug as a canal by the early inhabitants of Rome to drain the swamp lands where the present Roman Forum stands.

It was maintained throughout the Roman Empire and into the medieval times and was ultimately incorporated into the city's main sewerage system. But decades of inadequate maintenance meant that it is now clogged with debris and silt, raising fears of blockages and collapses. An ambitious operation to clean and maintain the drain, which has been undertaken by the Regional Archaeological Superintendence, is expected to take two years.