This photo released on Thursday shows an archaeologist uncovering an ancient Roman mosaic floor discovered under vines in the Italian region of Negrar, near Verona.—AFP
This photo released on Thursday shows an archaeologist uncovering an ancient Roman mosaic floor discovered under vines in the Italian region of Negrar, near Verona.—AFP

NEGRAR: Archaeolo­gists have discovered an exq­uisitely preserved Roman mosaic under a vineyard in northern Italy after a century of searching, the local mayor said on Thursday.

The brightly coloured geometric design, partly unearthed outside Negrar di Valpolicella near Verona, is thought to have been part of a villa archaeologists first started looking for in 1922.

“When I saw the mosaic it was very impressive because of the quality, the well-preserved colours, the preservation of the mosaic itself,” said Mayor Roberto Grison.

Locals have known for years there were Roman artefacts in their part of the famous wine region, a survey and some initial digging a century ago hinted at what lay beneath — and the area of the discovery is called Villa, said Grison. But until now there had not been any big finds.

Verona municipal archaeologist Gianni de Zuccato says the moment they came across the red, brown, grey and white mosaic deep underground was “like entering a time machine”. “It was an amazing feeling, I confess I could not remain cool,” De Zuccato said, dating the mosaics to around 250-400 AD.

Grison said that the aim now was to shed light on the villa and “to make it visible to whoever is interested”. Experts are now trying to discover the exact extent of the villa complex.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020