Rome's only surviving pyramid gets a facelift

Rome's only surviving pyramid from ancient times is getting fresh visibility.

After a Japanese clothing magnate paid for a cleanup, archeologists are eager to show off the monument, constructed around 2,000 years ago as the burial tomb for a Roman praetor, or magistrate, named Caius Cestius.

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Although soaring 36 metres (119 feet) high, the pyramid has long been ignored by most tourists. Decades of grime blackened the creamy white Carrara marble exterior of the monument near a traffic-clogged intersection near a subway stop. The pyramid's base is lower than street level since Rome has been built up over the centuries, so many don't appreciate the monument's height.

Archeologist Leonardo Guarnieri told reporters Wednesday that tours, including of the frescoed burial chamber, are given twice monthly upon reservation.


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