Not since two 8-bit plumbers ducked down a tube has Italian plumbing been the source of such a great story. The New York Times has the epic tale of restaurateur Luciano Faggiano, whose seemingly simple attempt to repair a broken toilet inside a newly purchased building in the Southern Italian city of Lecce turned into a decade-plus dig through history. Excavating underneath the restaurant to try and connect to the city's sewage system instead led to Faggiano reconnecting with the city's incredible past, unearthing a Messapian tomb centuries older than Christ, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even artwork from the Knights Templar as he got deeper and deeper.
Faggiano's tale of plumbing turned quixotic trip through time isn't uncommon in a country with centuries of history piled up, one civilization on top of another. A city council member quoted in the story, Severo Martini, noted that finding archaeological relics is a regular headache for builders and planners in Lecce, located in the heel of Italy's boot.
Faggiano's quest, initially expected to take a week, quickly unfolded across years, becoming its own historical epic. He engaged his sons and put them to work digging, was stopped by the city, then told to only proceed with heritage officials supervising his work. So much history was discovered at the site that it has since become a museum. Faggiano did eventually find the pipe he was looking for years into the dig, which was broken. He's since bought another building and has plans to renovate.
·Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet [The New York Times]