Buried historical treasures unearthed under cafe

Faggiano museum.
Faggiano museum.

Just to give you some respite from election fever, I have a lovely story to share with you this week.

Well, it must have been a bit of a surprise to the Faggiano family of Lecce when they discovered they had a museum’s worth of history buried beneath their Leccese cafe.

According to an article in ‘The Independent’ a few weeks ago, written by Michael Day, the family had a suspected rising damp problem that required a bit of a dig.

In 2000, Mr Faggiano and family decided to solve the problem themselves by digging beneath the building to remedy said problem, as you do.

However, to their surprise, they began to see some signs of medieval paving, but due to Italian law were unable to continue the excavation as it’s illegal to dig more deeply than 50cm without permission.

Eventually they were allowed to resume their efforts and could not have anticipated what they 
would find, nor to what extent the dig would bring 
up buried historical treasures.

Michael Day wrote, ‘The false floor led to a level 
paved with medieval 
stone, which itself led to a tomb of the Messapians, Greeks who arrived in 
Puglia some 500 years 
before the birth of 
Christ’.

Not only this, which frankly would be adequate for anyone, but they also found ‘Roman vases, medieval artefacts and hidden frescoes’.

In fact they found ‘more than 5000 objects’ of 
historical interest including a diamond encrusted 
ring.

Even a hole they discovered was used by Franciscan nuns to mummify dead bodies.

I can’t begin to imagine how they must have felt to discover this hoard beneath their cafe.

I’m sure if you started 
digging beneath your average house in Lancaster 
you’d be lucky if you found a crisp packet from the ‘90s 
or a rusty metal pipe, but I 
do concede that some interesting Roman treasure’s been found in our parts 
too.

The Faggiano family now have it all sewn up; although they had to hand over much of the trove to the state, they now have a museum near their cafe.

Fancy that.