Hadrian's Auditorium: Ancient Roman Arts Center From 123 AD Discovered (PHOTO)

12/27/2012 11:13 am ET | Updated Dec 27, 2012

On Wednesday, archeologists revealed the remains of an ancient arts center underneath Rome dating back to 123 AD, according to the Guardian.

Emperor Hadrian is believed to have funded "the Athenaeum," as it was known at the time; it was a 900-seat complex created to promote arts and culture, CBS News reports. Archeologists discovered the arts center during excavations for a new subway line to run through the Italian capital.

Sections of "elegant grey and yellow marble flooring" can be seen 18 feet below the Piazza Venezia, the Guardian reports. The famous monument in the center of Rome is also where "Il Duce" delivered his fiery addresses to followers; the structure was recently restored and reopened. But who would have known what was below this iconic building if digging for the subway line never happened?

Rea believes the underground line won't harm the ancient arts complex, however. The archeologist told the Guardian: "We can run one of the exits from the station along the original corridor of the complex where Romans entered the halls."

In Rome, past and present can exist simultaneously, as seen through discoveries like this one.

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