February 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 22
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Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


    VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- A new six-story parking lot, built under the Janiculum hill within walking distance of St. Peter's Basilica, was formally opened on January 31, in a ceremony attended by Pope John Paul II and a number of Italian political leaders.

    The construction of the parking facility, which has room for over 700 cars and nearly 100 buses, began in February 1998, as part of the preparation for the Jubilee Year. The construction process was marked by controversy, as conservationists questioned whether the project would cause harm to some of Rome's archeological treasures.

    In August 1999, during the excavation of an access ramp leading into the garage, workers uncovered what appeared to be the ruins of a home dating from the 2nd century, decorated with frescoes from that era. That discovery led to a series of debates as to whether the construction should continue-- and a few accusations that the builders were stealthily removing artifacts from the site in order to avoid further debates. Finally, in December 1999, Italian authorities cleared the way for the completion of the construction project.

    Along with the parking lot, the building also houses other facilities for tourists, including an information center, cafeteria, souvenir stand, and news kiosk. The construction of this facility-- which is similar to the concourse of an airport-- was funded by a private Italian agency. The costs of building the parking lot itself were split equally by the Vatican and the Italian government.

    In his remarks at the opening ceremony, Pope John Paul pointed out that the complex was artfully designed so that it preserved the view from the Janiculum, and facilitated the free flow of traffic around the city, while allowing easy access to the Vatican.


February 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 22

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