Sunday, May 24, 2020


Piazzale Clodio

1958/69 N. Monteduro, G. Perugini, F. Bruno, V. De Feo, U. De Plaisant, E. Giangreco, F. Girardi, M. Nicoletti and P. Reggiani

This team of architects was inspired by the works of the Swiss Le Corbusier

“The location turned out to be very unfortunate from the urban point of view because it inserted a tertiary function of great importance in a sector of the city traditionally intended for residence and therefore without adequate support structures. At the same time it was an obvious contradiction to the proposed development of new Urban Plan that was concentrating directional activities in the opposite quadrant of the city. It also contributed to further increase the weight of the urban road Via Olimpica (...) favoring consequently a distorted development of all the north-western sector of the city of Rome” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

In the years 1988/90 at the beginning of Via Antonio Varisco was built, in derogation of the Urban Plan, the NEW HEADQUARTERS OF THE COURT OF APPEAL on five floors with six halls for trials, offices and headquarters of the presidency of the Court


Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano

1743 Ferdinando Fuga (1699/1782) for Benedict XIV Lambertini (1740/58)
Partial reconstruction of the ancient triclinium erected by St. Leo III (795/816) as the dining room of the Patriarchìo (Patriarchate palace)

“Jesus and eleven apostles” with on the left “Jesus gives the keys to St. Peter and the banner to Constantine” and on the right “St. Peter offers the bishops’ pallium to Leo III and the banner to Charlemagne” 1743 by Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674/1755)

Ghezzi used very few original elements but executed it as a copy of the original, prudently documented by Pier Paolo Cristofari before being destroyed. He had tried to move it of 180 degrees without success
It was originally executed at the time of the institution of the Holy Roman Empire by Charlemagne on the year 800


Via Milano/Via del Traforo

1902/03 Alessandro Viviani (1825/1905)
End of the tunnel on Via Milano 1905 by Pio Piacentini (1846/1928) and Giulio Podesti (1857/1909)
End of the tunnel on Via Due Macelli by Angelo Tommasi

It is 347.70 meters long (1145 feet) and 17 m (56 feet) wide

In 1902, during the work, was found, about 160 m (525 feet) from the beginning of Via Rasella, a room lined with white marble friezes, bas-reliefs, architectural fragments, all with traces of fire
From the inscriptions on the pipes of lead archaeologists have been able to figure out the name of the owner of the room: Fulvius Plautianus praetorian prefect, father of Plautilla, wife of Caracalla (211/217)
Some of the many statues found here are now in a section of the museum in the Centrale Montemartini

Monday, May 18, 2020


Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

Ruins of an immense FOUNTAIN on three floors dating from the time of Alexander Severus (222/235), maybe the year 226 AD

The dating is determined by a coin of 226 that represents it

It was originally faced with marble with function of reservoir for water supply fed by the Aqua Iulia aqueduct, perhaps in connection also with the Aqua Alexandriana aqueduct
The fountain was known as Nymphaeum Alexandri

These ruins took their current name from two reliefs from the period of Domitian (81/96) mistakenly called “Trophies of Marius”, moved in 1590 from here to the balustrade of the Capitoline Hill. They didn’t however belong to the original monument

It is a recomposition of the door with hermetic symbols from the villa of the Marquis Massimiliano Di Palombara destroyed in 1873 to build the new quarters of Rome as capital of the Kingdom of Italy

The hermetic symbols etched into the marble would be the magic formula for making gold that the Marquis had found in an ancient book. Having failed to decipher it, he has made it available to all, and maybe, one day, some passer-by on Piazza Vittorio will discover how to make gold
On either side of the door “Two statues of the god Bes” found on Quirinal Hill in 1888


Viale Europa - Demolite

1957/62 Cesare Ligini (1913/88), who designed as well the also demolished Velodrome of EUR, with the collaboration of Vittorio Cafiero (1901/81), Robert Venturi and Guido Marinucci for the Ministry of Finance

Also known as TORRI LIGINI. Three 60-storey towers and two low-rise buildings
They were demolished in 2010 to make way for the project by Renzo Piano that will provides housing and services for 1,600 people


Via Giovanni Lanza/Piazza di S. Martino ai Monti

Two ancient towers of the twelfth century
They were arranged according to the orientation of the ancient Roman road which now matches Via in Selci and Via di S. Martino ai Monti

THE HIGHEST (36.10 m - 118.5 feet) originally belonged to the Arcioni family and later to the Capoccis
It is divided into seven floors plus the ground floor and terrace

THE LOWER belonged at first to the Cerroni family and later to the Grazianis

They are considered the Roman equivalent of the famous Towers Asinelli and Garisenda in Bologna


Largo Magnanapoli

It was built at the beginning of the thirteenth century by Marchionne Aretino for Innocent III of the Conti from Segni (1198/1216)

It was originally in the area of the oratory of ORATORIO DEI Ss. CIRO E GIOVANNI (Sts. Cyrus and John) later known as S. ABBACIRO erected before the year 680

It was bought by Boniface VIII Caetani (1294/1303) who fortified it against the Colonna family
It was ruined by the earthquake of 1348 which caused the slope and the loss of the upper floor
In the sixteenth century it belonged again to the Conti family

From 1619 it belonged to the nuns of S. Caterina a Magnanapoli
Restoration in 1914 by Antonio Muñoz (1884/1960)
It was freed from the surrounding buildings only in 1924

It is 51.10 meters (167.6 feet) high and it is one of the most important civic buildings in medieval Rome

Since 1927 it is part of the complex of the Markets of Trajan

The origin of its name is a mystery
It maybe corresponds to the AUGURACULUM, the area for taking the auspices in relation to meetings that were held in the underlying Saepta Iulia


Via di Tor de' Conti/Largo Corrado Ricci

1203 Marchionne Aretino, known as the “Prince of the military architects” for Innocent III of the Conti from Segni (1198/1216)
It was also known as Torre Maggiore (Major Tower) because of its size: the original height had to be about 50-60 m (165-200 feet), whereas the current hight is 29 m (95 feet)

In 1348 the tower became uninhabitable for an earthquake and it was abandoned until 1620, when it was rebuilt
Other earthquakes followed in 1630 and in 1644

Subsequent restructuring occurred at the end of 1600s under Alexander VIII Ottoboni (1689/91), with the construction of the two reinforcement buttresses

Currently it houses offices of associations and of the local Roman government
It was built on one of the corners of the ancient TEMPLE OF PEACE of the years 71/75 built for Vespasian (69/79)


Via IV Novembre/Via delle Tre Cannelle 18

End of the twelfth century by Gilido Carbone
It was attached to the defensive system of the Colonna family, later owned by the Annibaldi Molara family

Built in bricks. It was originally a three-storey buiding
The crowning in travertine is modern

In the lower part of the tower are embedded three ancient “Fragments of reliefs” and the emblem of the Colonna family
It was recently restored and reconverted into a luxury hotel with the name RESIDENZA TORRE COLONNA


Piazza Fatebenefratelli

Tenth century, erected by the Pierleoni family

It is nicknamed la pulzella (the maiden) for the tiny head in marble of a young girl dating back to the late empire inserted in the brick facing of the Fabricius Bridge

It was part of the CASTLE OF THE TIBERINE ISLAND that had hosted two popes: Victor III (1086/87) for two months with Matilda of Canossa and Urban II (1088/99) for a year, in 1089
At the end of the thirteenth century it became property of the Caetani family who lived here until 1470

After the flood of 1557 that swept the castle, the tower was donated by the Caetani family to the Franciscan fathers
Since 1870 the monastery is an almshouse for Jewish people

Friday, May 15, 2020


Via dell'Arco di Travertino 151

These tombs are located on the ancient VIA LATINA already used in prehistoric times, later used by the Etruscans and finally paved on the fourth or third century BC

It branched off from the Appian Way and headed to Casilinum (now Capua), where it joined again with the Appian Way
It remained in use until the fourteenth century

Excavations of Lorenzo Fortunati in the years 1857/58

After the entrance to the right there is the BARBERINI SEPULCHRE
It spreads over three floors. Here was found the “Barberini Sarcophagus” now in the Vatican Museums

Further on, on the right TOMB OF THE VALERII
About 160 AD. The outside is a nineteenth-century makeover. The name is imaginative
The walls were covered with marble slabs of which traces remain and there is in the ceiling a refined decoration in white stucco with “Scene of the funerary world, Dionysian subjects and representations from the marine repertoire “

Still further on, on the left TOMB OF THE PANCRATII
About 140. At the level of the ground “Black and white mosaic with fishes”
Downstairs there is a vestibule where one sarcophagus remains mentioning the corporation of the Pancratii
In the burial chamber patterned floor and ceiling painted and plastered with various mythological themes that include also the top of the walls. At the center of the vault “Male figure transported by the eagle of Jupiter”

Nearby there are also the BACCELLI TOMB and the TOMB OF THE CALPURNII
On a villa which maybe belonged to the Anici family, was built at the behest of Pope Leo the Great (440/461) the CHURCH OF St. STEPHAN still in use in the thirteenth century, with three naves, apse and baptistery


Via Cassia 735

Second half of the third century AD

It is absolutely not the tomb of Emperor Nero (54/68), but the tomb of one Publius Vibius Marianus, prefect of the third Gallic legion, prosecutor of Sardinia, and of his wife, Regina Maxima

In his erroneous identification, the tomb ended up giving the name to the locality

Nero was buried, according to Suetonius, in the MAUSOLEUM OF THE DOMITII AHENOBARBII, the family of the father of Nero, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus
The mausoleum was in the area of Piazza del Popolo, where, in 1099, Pope Paschal II (1099/1118) built the church of S. Maria del Popolo


Piazza Venezia

First decades of the first century BC
It was erected by the Senate and by the people of Rome on the road out from the nearby Porta Fontinalis for special merits of this otherwise unknown AEDILE PLEBIS and of his descendants
The part visible in travertine marble is the upper part while the high base is still landfilled

Sunday, May 10, 2020


Piazza di Porta Maggiore

Built in the years 40/30 BC
It was originally about 7 m (23 feet) high

Trapezoidal shape, due to the position between the two divergent roads, Via Labicana and Via Prenestina

It was discovered during the demolition, arranged in 1838 for Pope Gregory XVI Cappellari (1831/46), of the defensive towers built by Honorius (395/423) of Porta Maggiore, in order to restore the old structure of the time of Aurelian (271/275)

Marcus Virgilius Eurysaces was a baker, probably an enriched freedman 
He was buried with his wife Atistia. The urn where her ashes were kept is now in the Museo delle Terme

In the upper part of the tomb is the “Frieze with stages of the baking process”

“The monumental complex responds well to the need for exposure of a person of humble origins. The formal sketchy language of the frieze that mimics that of continuous official reliefs, his didactic purpose, the emphasis on the protagonist, as well as the theme, make it a typical work of plebeian art” (Gian Luca Grassigli - TMG)


Via delle Terme di Traiano

104/109 Apollodorus of Damascus for Trajan (98/117) after the fire that destroyed the Domus Aurea in the year 104

Whole area 330 x 315 m (1,090 x 1,030 feet)
Central part 212 x 190 m (700 x 620 feet)

First complete example of “great baths” in Rome with exedra and better layout in relation to the sun and to the prevailing winds like the bathing complexes of Ostia, Caracalla, Diocletian and Decius

The Baths of Titus and the Baths of Nero were oriented north south, affected perhaps by the adjacent buildings
The tank of the baths was the large room known as SETTE SALE (Seven Rooms), actually nine corridors (the last two were discovered in 1760, but the original name lingered) of same width but of different length, oriented north south as the Domus Aurea


Via Nicola Salvi

80 AD for Titus (79/81) who probably did reuse the existing Baths of the Domus Aurea built for Nero (54/68)

The only ruins remaining are the brick pillars north of the Colosseum
The main floor was about 17 m (56 feet) higher than that of the Colosseum, but the baths were divided on multiple levels over the slope of the hill

The architects of Nero did here, as in the Baths of Nero in the Campus Martius, a symmetrical duplication of rooms arranged around a central axis, with the core consists of a hall built as a basilica, a plan which will be increasingly applied in the baths to be built afterwards
We know the plan of the baths thanks to a drawing by the great architect Andrea Palladio (1508/80)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Via Enrico De Nicola 74

298/306, the largest baths in ancient Rome
According to the inscription in Room Five of the Museum of the Baths they were built in less than eight years

Begun when Maximian (286/305) was back from Africa (298) and finished after the abdication of Diocletian (284/305) and Maximian (May 1, 305), but before the death of Constantius (25 July 306)

Eusebio said that for the construction were employed 40,000 Christians

Area of about 380 x 370 m (1247 x 1214 feet)
They were fed by the Aqua Marcia acqueduct

The plan is similar to that of the Baths of Trajan:

CALDARIUM not circular but rectangular with three niches

TEPIDARIUM and NATATIO arranged along the minor axis

GYMNASIUMS at the sides of the major axis

APODYTERIUM (near the gymnasiums)


LIBRARIES in which the books of the Basilica Ulpia were transported to 200 years old and apparently abandoned

The bricks with stamps all date back to the period of Diocletian

The complex could have been used by more than 3,000 people, double the Baths of Caracalla
It remained in operation until the time of the war between the Goths and Byzantines (535/553)
The name remains in the name Termini (Thermae) given to the nearby Termini Train Station

“The eight largest public bathing establishments (among the eleven known) covered all together an area of about 47 hectares (116 acres). There was also an extraordinary number of private ‘balnea’, scattered in all districts of the city: 856 were recorded in the fourth century AD” (Filippo Coarelli)


Museum of the Baths

Branch of the MUSEO NAZIONALE ROMANO (National Roman Museum) which is made out of five different museums in five different locations. The other four are Palazzo Massimo, Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps and Museo del Palatino

The Baths of Diocletian housed the first branch ever of the National Roman Museum which opened in 1890

The museum was completed in the thirties and renovated in the nineties of the 1900s
The rooms of the Baths from the first to the eleventh are being restored

Garden of the Sixteenth Century

Statues, steles, sarcophagi and funerary altars

At the center fountain with “Colossal cantharus in marble” 2 m (6.6 feet) high decorated with Cupids

Entrance Hall

Frescoes found after restoration “Woman with two children” beginning of the eighteenth century, maybe by Giovanni Odazzi (1663/1731)

“Sarcophagus with Dionysian procession”

“Statue of man with toga” second century AD with head not pertinent

“Funerary altar of the scribe of the curule aedile Quintus Fulvius Priscus and his brother”


One of the most important collections in the world with nearly 10,000 ancient inscriptions, which corresponds to about 10% of all epigraphic inscriptions found in Rome

Exhibit with evolution from the most rare inscriptions of the Archaic period to the thousands of imperial age

Room One

“Fragment of the Forma Urbis” representing the Temple of the Castors

Room Two

Copy (the original is in the proto-historic museum) of “Vase with the oldest Greek inscription found in Italy” ninth century BC from Osteria dell'Osa

Copy of the “Lapis Niger”

“Lapis Satricanum” from the Temple of Mater Matuta in Satrico, where he this base offered to Publicola, first Roman consul in 509 BC, was re-used

“Helmet, armor and weapons” of warrior from Lanuvium about 470 BC

“Bronze foil” with a dedication to Castor and Pollux, second half of the sixth century BC, from the thirteen altars in the sanctuary of Lavinium

Room Three

Materials and inscriptions of the fourth and third century BC from Rome and Lazio region

“Small base votive offering to Aesculapius” found in the Tiber River

“Crown of limestone dedicated to Fortuna Primigenia” from Palestrina

“Truncated pyramid of peperino stone dedicated to Aeneas” from Lavinium

“Marble base used as a fountain with metal letters” from the Temple of Hercules in Borgo S. Giovanni near Lanuvio

“Votive complex” with three terracotta statues seated and two standing of the fourth and third century BC from the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Ariccia

Room Four

Inscriptions dating back to the period of the late republic

“Base of Lucius Mummius consul in 146 BC” from Fregellae

Two “Small bowls” 63 BC with electioneering for Catiline and Marcus Porcius Cato

“Plaque” dedicated to the baker Eurisace and his wife

“Laudatio Turiae” praise inscribed on marble for a courageous wife during the civil wars

Room Five

Imperial Age. The figure of the emperor

“Dedicatory inscription of the Baths of Diocletian”

“Base with bronze plate” for the statue of Tiberius (14/37) dedicated by the Aenatores (musicians)

“Base in marble for series of statues of members of the Julio-Claudian family” also dedicated by the Aenatores

Upstairs there are epigraphs of the second and third century AD including: “Base for Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus (193/211) as mater castrorum

Room Six

Strata of Roman society

“Inscription commemorating the historian Tacitus”

“Sarcophagus of the eques Aurelius Julianus for his son Marcus Aurelius Romanus with scene of Ulysses and the sirens” third century AD

“Sarcophagus of the eques Julius Achilleus with pastoral scenes” about 270

Lead pipes with marks

Oil lamps

Cast (original is in the garden) of the “Huge inscription for the funerary monument of Epaphroditus, freedman of Nero (54/68)”

Room Seven

Administration of the empire

Bronze “Tabula Alimentaria” of the Baebiani from the Liguria region, 101 AD. They were deported en masse in the Irpinia region in Southern italy

“Inscription for the career of Lucius Lucilius Julianus praetorian prefect”

“Wall with graffiti” from the barracks of the fire brigade

Room Eight

Roman Businesses

“Funerary altar of Aurelia Nais, fish seller “

“Eulogy of the freed Allia Potestas” from Via Pinciana

“Memorials of gladiators”

“Funerary stele of Licinia Amias” with fish, Christological acrostic IΧΘΥΣ formed from the initials of the phrase Ἰησοὺς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ which means Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior in Greek

“Altar of Marcus Antonius Terentius, cattle dealer”

“Altar of a mime from the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor at Tivoli” 199 AD

“Iron collar for slave”

“Sarcophagus of the shoemaker Tits Flavius Trophimas”

Room Nine

Religions in Rome

Inscriptions for the worship of ancestors, Penati, Lari and Mani

Christian and Jewish inscriptions

Statutes (leges) that regulated worship in associations of faithful as the “Lex familiae Silvani” or the “Lex colleges salutaris Dianae et Antinoi”

“Inscriptions for the worship of Anna Perenna” with witchcraft curses found in 2000 near the fountain and sacred source of Anna Perenna in Piazza Euclide

Cult of Mithras with “Statuette of Petrogenitus Mithras” (born from a rock) and polychrome relief with “Mithras tauroctonous” (bull killer)

“Idol of the Janiculum Hill” maybe Egyptian Osiris or Syrian Adonis mid-fourth century AD from the Syrian Sanctuary

Educational Room

Production process of epigraphs and examples of false pieces

Room Ten

Large tombs of the Platorinis and of the Via Portuense

Finally opened to the public in 2009 with 57 years of delay since the, at the time, planned opening. During all this long time the room was always deemed unusable

Probably the hall was originally one of the two entrances to the complex


Discovered in 1880 on Via Lungara and rebuilt in 1911

The burial chamber is preceded by the statues of “Sulpicius Platorinus” and of his daughter “Sulpicia”, of the first century AD

Inside were relocated urns, richly decorated with reliefs of ox skulls and garlands of fruit


Carved into the tufa stone discovered in 1951 on Via Quirino Majorana

They were part of a necropolis that developed along the Via Portuense between the end of the first and third century AD:

“First tomb”

There are niches on the walls and vaulted ceiling, decorated in white stucco with floral motifs and mythological figures, including the Dioscuri, Eros riding and Seasons

Allegorical representations allusive to the immortality of the soul and the journey that the soul will have to make to reach the place of the blessed

“Second tomb”

Arched niches. It is painted inside with images that now, thanks to a careful restoration, are presented in all their polychrome glory

On the left side “Two peacocks with a crater”, on the right side “Figures playing ball and other conversing, while a giant baby moves around with a tripod”

Also in the room there are:

“Sarcophagus with Dionysus and Ariadne” from the Via Labicana

“Two sinks” not funerary, one in yellow marble from Tunisia and the other in granite

“Statues” placed in the niches of the thermal baths’ walls


Pleistocene (geological period from 2,000,000 to 10,000 BC)

Ages in relation to man:

Paleolithic divided into three phases: the lower, early Stone Age (2,500,000/120,000), medium (120,000/36,000), higher (36,000/10,000)

Mesolithic: bows and arrows, villages (10,000/7500)

Neolithic: introduction agriculture, use of clay and ceramics (7,500/5,700)

Eneolithic (or Chalcolithic): Copper Age (5,700/2,300), Bronze Age (2,300/1,100), Iron Age (1100/800 late prehistory - early history)

Materials of the various phases of the CULTURE OF THE LAZIO REGION especially from the following sites:

Osteria dell'Osa near Gabii (“Pot” with the oldest Greek inscription found in Italy, ninth century BC)

La Rustica


Fidenae (hut)


Traditionally attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475/1564) who worked for the church of St. Mary of the Angels in 1561, but maybe only suggested the design that was initiated by his pupil Jacopo Del Duca (about 1520/1604) in 1565 and ended only in the early seventeenth century

Second floor finished in 1676 and fountain dating back to 1695

Restored in 2000

A corner “Door painted in trompe l'oeil with Carthusian friar Fercoldo father of Pope Clement IV (1265/68)” in 1855 by Filippo Balbi (1806/90)

First Wing


Two “Headless statues sitting down” of the Julio-Claudian period from Torpignattara

“Headless statue with armour” from Via Prenestina

“Headless statue of man in heroic semi-nudity” from S. Giovanni Incarico

“Woman standing headless” maybe priestess of Ceres of the second century AD

Various funerary altars including “Titus Aspulenus Carellianus” dead only five years old and “Sarcophagus of child with Centauromachy and Gigantomachy”

Three “Sileni squatting” maybe used as telamons

Second Wing


“Sarcophagus with the discovery of the sleeping Ariadne” from Sts. Nereus and Achilleus

“Sarcophagus with two winged genies supporting the clypeus with underneath Ocean and Tellus and at the sides the centaur Chiron training Hercules” from Via Casilina

Stretch of an ancient road

“Sarcophagus with the myth of Medea” from Palazzo Caucci

Small sarcophagi for children

Two “Coffins of the kline type” of the first century AD

Third Wing

Funerary altars and reliefs with portraits of deceased

“Aphrodite draped”

“Child asleep with lantern”

Two “Statues of women in the archaic style”

“Funerary relief with centaur who kidnaps a nymph” from Via Prenestina

Fourth Wing

Religious idols

“Drunken Dionysus”

“Dionysus with a panther”

“Headless satyr carrying a flask of wine”




Two “Altars for Diana”

Two statues of “Boys sitting”

Statue of “Headless athlete” from Via Ostiense inspired from the original by Polykleitos of Argos (about 490/about 425 BC)


Room with eight sides located in the southwest corner of the Baths of Diocletian

It is also known as Sala della Minerva (Hall of Minerva) and it is believed to be a minor frigidarium for ablutions

In 1609 it was included in the group of barns of the city of Rome that were transformed in the Pius Institute of General Charity in the nineteenth century
In 1878 was used as a headquarters of the Normal School of Gymnastics and later became the Minerva Movie Theater
In 1928 it was adapted to Planetarium by Italo Gismondi

Now it is part of the National Roman Museum

According to Filippo Coarelli it was built on the TEMPLUM GENTIS FLAVIAE from which would originally come the Agonal Obelisk now in Piazza Navona

Built in about 94 by Domitian (81/96) on the place where he was born for the worship of his gens (extended family)
He maybe moved here from the Mausoleum of Augustus the ashes of his father Vespasian and of his brother Titus

He was buried here himself (Suetonius says that, after his assassination, it was his nurse Phyllis to secretely bring the ashes in the temple and to mix them with those of Giulia) together with Julia, daughter of Titus and his mistress, the two Flavia Domitillas, wife and daughter of Vespasian and Flavio Sabino brother of Vespasian who had died in the year 69 during ths skirmishes against the supporter of Vitellius