Porta Metronia Rome

The Porta Metronia is an ancient city gate along the Aurelian Walls in Rome. It is located along the Via dell’Amba Aradam, which leads to Basilica of Saint John In Lateran.

Porta Metronia Rome


Porta Metronia Rome
Porta Metronia

The Porta Metronia is probably named for a certain Metrobius, who used to own various properties in the area. Another name it was known by is Porta Gabiusa. This is because the road that used to lead to the ancient Volscian city of Gabii used to start here. This road more or less corresponds to the present Via Gallia.

Initially the Porta Metronia was no more than a so-called posterula, a small secret exit out of the city. This is clear because it was included at the base of a small tower on the inside of the wall. Had it been a real gate, it would have been flanked by defensive towers on each side.

In the 12th century the Porta Metronia was closed. The gate became used for a passage of a marrana, as the Romans called ditches that ran through the city. This ditch started near Grottaferrata and was brought to Rome by Pope Callisto II. A grating was put in front of the passage, so that smugglers could not enter the city.

After flowing through the gate, the ditch continued towards the San Sisto Vecchio Church, and via the Circus Maximus ended in the Tiber. Here, in the area called Cloaca Maxima, it fed 14 water mills.

The ditch created a swampy area outside the gate, which came to be called “il Pantano”. Often the stagnant water was the cause of epidemics. This swampy area was completely filled up in the beginning of the 20th century. The Marrana itself was diverted to end in the river Almone.


Porta Metronia Inscriptions

The gate itself has been bricked up, but its contours are still visible. It is much lower than the present street level.

On both sides of the Porta Metronia there are two arches. On one side these stem from the fascist period and on the other from the period after the war. They were created to facilitate the flow of traffic.

The two plaques on the inside refer to restoration works in 1157 and in 1579.

The 1157 restoration was carried out by the People and the Senate of Rome. The inscription states the names of the counsillors who had had the work commissioned. In those days the city displayed a strong streak of independence from the church, which is why the Pope is not mentioned in the inscription.

In the 16th century, as the inscription shows, times had changed. Pope Gregorius XIII made sure that everyone knew that it was he who had had the gate fixed out of his own pocket, 421 years after the last restoration.

Porta Metronia, Rome

Porta Latina Rome

The Porta Latina in Rome is located nearby the Terme di Caracalla and the Porta di San Sebastiano. It is named for the street of the same name and is one of the best preserved Roman gates in the Aurelian Walls.

Porta Latina Rome


Porta Latina Rome (outside the walls)
Porta Latina from outside the walls.

The Porta Latina is named for the Via Latina, which led from Rome to what is now Capua, but was at the time still called Casilinum. In those days this territory was taken up by the 30 or so villages that were part of the Latin League. This was a confederation, founded to create a protection against common enemies. Initially these enemies were the Etruscans, but later they came to include the Romans. Still later Rome joined the Latin League, then took a dominant role and finally submitted the other villages. In 338 BC the organization was disbanded.

In the Republican Age (509-27 BC) the road started, together with the Old Appian Way, at the Porta Capena. The two roads separated near what is now the Piazzale di Numa Pompilio. The initial name of the street is now Via di Porta Latina. After the gate it becomes Via Latina.

Initially the opening was 6.55 metres tall and 4.20 metres wide. Between 401 and 403 Emperor Honorius had this reduced to 5.65 by 3.73 metres. The outline of the original fornix is still visible. The reduction of the wall was part of a completely restructuring to make it easier to defend the city. Honorius also had the right tower rebuilt and the travertine facade restructured.

In the middle ages the right tower was again restored.

Both in 1576 and in 1656 the gate was closed during an epidemic of the plague.

After the construction of the Via Appia Nuova the gate lost importance.

Until the early 20th century it was only open when there were special events at the San Giovanni a Porta Latina Church. Even when the Italian troops tried to enter the city here in 1870, they ended up having to give up on the attempt. Their brothers in arms at the Porta Pia ended up having more luck, though, which is why Italy now exists.


The two windowless semicircular towers on each side have holes that were to be used by archers. The five openings in the upper part were created during the reign of Honorius.

The keystone of the outer arch has the Constantinian Chi Ro monogram on it. The Greek letters forming this monogram stand for Christ. To the left and right of the monogram the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet (alpha and omega) can be seen, symbolizing the beginning and the end.

The Greek cross on the inner side of the arch is also a Christian symbol.

The entrance could be closed off with a hinged gate on the inside and with a portcullis on the outside.

There is a small door behind the western door, which gives access to a walkway and a room with 17th century walls. According to legend the god Saturn hid in this chamber from his son Jupiter after the latter had dethroned him.

Porta Latina, Rome

Ospedale del Celio Rome

What is now the Ospedale del Celio in Rome is built on the area that used to be occupied by the ancient Villa Casali. After the unification of Italy a big part of the villa was ddestroyed to make space for new constructions.

Ospedale del Celio Rome


Ospedale del Celio Rome
The interior of the complex in 1915.

The villa started its existence as property of the family Massimo, who later sold it ti the family Teofoli. Later Marquis Mario Casali inherited it from his wife Margherita di Sertorio Teofili.

At the end of the 17th century, the Casali had a house constructed by the architect Tommaso Mattei. They also had an enormous garden laid out.

In those days the main road through the villa faced the Santo Stefano Rotondo Church, while the side roads ended at the apse of the Santi Quattro Coronati Church.

In 1871 the city decided to develop the area. The owners of the land were supposed to build houses and the city would take care of the infrastructure.

Initially most of the villa was saved. However, in 1884, having decided to build a military hospital on its grounds, the city bought everything and five years later completely destroyed it. More than 50000 m² of green area disappeared.


The new military hospital was constructed between 1884 and 1889. It was designed by Colonel Luigi Durand de la Penne together with the architect Salvatore Bianchi.

It consists of a series of 30 pavilions, connected by galleries and metal walkways.

Works of  art

Ospedale del Celio Rome - Antinoo Casali
The Antinoo Casali, now in the Ny Carlsbergh Glyptotek in Copenhagen.

Of the works of art collected by Cardinal Antonio Casali many were lost. Others ended up in Copenhagen’s Ny Carlsbergh Glyptotek. These include the “Casali Sarcophagus”, the “Antinoo Casali” and a mosaic depicting the “Rape of Europe”.

During excavations for the foundations of the hospital several ancient structures were unearthed.

The Basilica Hilariana was built by the pearl merchant Manius Publicius Hilarus. One of the most interesting finds was a mosaic with a depiction of the evil eye, which can now be viewed in the Antiquario Comunale del Celio. The building consisted of a porticoed courtyard surrounded by various rooms. It was probably used as a sort of temple for the followers of the goddess Cybele, who was know as the Magna Mater (“Great mother”) and was a very important deity in ancient Rome. The base of a statue dedicated to Hilarus himself, was also found in this spot.

Other ruins uneartehd in the area include those of the house of the Simmaci, a senatorial family in the Imperial era.

Ospedale del Celio – Piazza Celimontana 50, Rome

Corso del Rinascimento Rome

The Corso del Rinascimento in Rome connects the Piazza delle Cinque Lune to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The street runs parallel to the long side of the Piazza Navona. The Piazza Madama divides the street into two sections. The Corso del Rinascimento forms the border between the districts of Parione (on the west side) and Sant’Eustachio (east side).

Corso del Rinascimento Rome

History and description

In 1931 a Regulatory Plan was created with the aim to create a direct route from the Ponte Umberto I to the Trastevere district. The first part of the plan, from the bridge to the Sant’Andrea della Valle Church, was finished. The second part was supposed to lead through the Campo de’ Fiori and the Via Giulia to the Ponte Sisto. However , this was never executed.

In order to create the new street many 17th and 18th century buildings had to be destroyed. The demolition of ancient irregular, winding streets such as Via del Pino, Via del Pinacolo and Via della Sapienza was not popular in Rome. Pasquino, one of Rome’s talking statues, punned: “Se questo è il Corso del Rinascimento, ogni aborto sarebbe un lieto evento” (“If this is the street of rebirth, every abortion would be a happy event.”)

On April 21, 1936 Benito Mussolini took his pickaxe and destroyed the first stone. The buildings replacing the old palaces were designed by Arnaldo Foschini and Salvatore Rebecchini.

Corso del Rinascimento Tourist Attractions

Palazzo Madama

Palazzo Madama - Corso del Risorgimento Rome

The most important building along the Corso del Rinascimento is the Palazzo Madama. This palace was the original Roman residence of the Medici family. In 1871 it became the seat of the Italian senate. The main entrance is on the Piazza Madama. The building can only be visited on the first saturday of the month (8 AM – 6 PM).

Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore Church

San Giacomo degli Spagnoli - Corso del Rinascimento Rome

The church on the right side, starting from the north, is the Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore Church. It is also known as the San Giacomo degli Spagnoli Church. The entrance to this church is on the Corso del Rinascimento side, but the more inpressive facade is on the Piazza Navona.

Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza Church

Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza Church Rome

The Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza Church, on the opposite side of the street, is the work of Borromini. It is built in the courtyard of the Palazzo della Sapienza. This church is particularly famous because of its spiral dome. The sumptious interior decorations are seen as harbingers of the decorative stule known as rococo.

Corso Rinascimento, Rome

Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore Church Rome

The Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore Church in Rome is also known as the San Giacomo degli Spagnoli Church. This church has two facades, the main one being on the Corso del Risorgimento. The second facade is on the Piazza Navona.

Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore Church Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Corso del Rinascimento, 27 – Rome. Tel: (+39) 06 6875214 or 06 6840311 or 06 6877937. Opening hours: Weekdays: 06.30 till 09.50 and 17.00 till 19.00; Holidays: 07.30 till 12.00 and 17.00 till 19.00. Admission: Free.


Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore Church Rome
Facade Corso del Rinascimento

The San Giacomo degli Spagnoli Church was built by Bernardo Rossellino, on the site of a former oratorium of the Sant’Andrea dei Benedettini Church. As an inscription on the church portal indicates, the church was constructed for the Jubilee in the year 1450.

The Bishop of Seville gave his protection to the church, which became the centre of the Spanish community in Rome.

The original entrance was in the Via della Sapienza, a street which does not exist anymore. Like more streets in the area, in 1936 it had to make place for the new Corso del Rinascimento.

The main facade is now in the Corso, but there is a second facade on the Piazza Navona. Pope Alexander VI was responsible for the construction of this facade in the 16th century.

A restoration, under Antonio Sangallo the Younger, took place in 1514.

Later, when the Santa Maria del Monserrato Church was built, the church lost its importance. At one point it was even close to collapsing.

After the French missionaries of the Sacred Heart commissioned Luca Carimini to reconstruct the church, it was newly consecrated. This was when it got its present name, “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart”.

The 1463 portal and thus the main entrance were moved to the Piazza Navona. At the same time Pietro Torrigiani‘s Renaissance portal travelled the other way.

When the Corso di Rinasscimento was laid, the apse and the transept of the church were damaged. Arnaldo Foschi created a new facade, with columns and a loggia on the upper part, and the main entrance was moved away from Piazza Navona.


Piazza Navona Facade

Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore Church Rome - Piazza Navona side
Piazza Navona Facade

The Piazza Navona facade is divided into three parts by pilasters. Each part has a rose window and arched window, but the central part is surmounted by a tympanum with a cross.

The most striking part of this facade is the 15th century portal. The coat of arms lifted by the two angels on the pediment is that of Castile and Leon. The inscription opus Mini under the angel on the left refers either to Mino da Fiesole or to Mino del Reame. Opus Pauli under the right one refers to Paolo Romano.

Romano also made the statue of Saint James above the tympanum.


The interior consists of three naves with side chapels. Several works of art were moved to the Santa Maria di Monserrato Church. The majority ended up in museums in Barcelona and Madrid, however.

The San Giacomo Chapel was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. The frescoes in this chapel are the work of Pellegrino Aretusi. The original of the Jacopo Sansovino‘s “San Giacomo” statue above the altar is in the Santa Maria in Monserrato Church.

Baldassarre Croce painted the vault frescoes. The marble choir is probably the work of Pietro Torrigiani.

Nostra Signora del sacro Cuore Church – Corso del Rinascimento 27, Rome

Top 10 Tourist Attractions Rome

A highly subjective list of the most important, most popular or most beautiful Top 10 tourist attractions in Rome. The order is random. Those who do not agree with our choice can comment below.

Top 10 Tourist Attractions Rome

01. Colosseum

Colosseum - Top 10 Tourist Attractions Rome

“When the Colosseum falls, Rome will fall. When Rome falls, the world will fall”. How many monuments inspire such reverence? The world’s most famous amphitheater has never stopped to inspire awe and lately more parts have become accessible for tourists.

02. Vatican City

Saint Peter's Basilica Rome

The Vatican City contains Saint Peter’s Basilica and Square, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. There is probably no other place on earth which such a density of artistic masterpieces. Expect to spend an entire day sightseeing here.

03. Trastevere

Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere

Although there are older areas in Rome, Trastevere is the quintessential Roman neighborhood. Especially the part close to the river Tiber with its narrow, winding alleys and intimate, picturesque squares is a must-see. The family-run trattorie in Trastevere are famous for their hospitality and the Sunday flea market at Porta Portese is famous for its chaos.

04. Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Every big city has one: A square where pseudo-artists overcharge you for their caricatures and tacky tourist attraction drawings. Of course they wouldn’t be there if Piazza Navona wasn’t such a gorgeous square, with Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers in the middle and the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone facing it.

05. Pantheon

Facade of the Pantheon in Rome

The Pantheon is the oldest religious building still being used for its original purpose. Built more than two thousand years ago, architects still marvel at the perfection of its spectacular dome. The official name of the Pantheon is Chiesa di Santa Maria ad Martyres, but “Temple of All Gods” does sound better.

06. Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

We recommend visiting Trevi Fountain twice: Once during daytime and once after midnight, when the throngs have disappeared and it is possible to have an idea of the real grandiosity of the monument. Anita Ekberg has by now given up on getting Marcello Mastroianni to join her, but also without movie stars the Trevi Fountain remains a unique sight to behold.

07. Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps Rome

Although it is now forbidden to sit on the Spanish Steps, the atmosphere here is still unique. Towering over the Piazza di Spagna and the Fontana della Barcaccia and in turn being towered over by the Trinita dei Monti church and obelisk the Spanish Steps are amongst Rome‘s most romantic hangouts. Walking straight down the steps you will enter the Via Condotti and your shopping spree may commence. In spring big pots with azaleas are placed on the steps.

08. Via Veneto

Santa Maria della Concezione Church Rome

Faded glory, but beautiful faded glory. In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Via Veneto paparazzi cam here to take pictures of movie stars. Aspiring movie stars came here hoping to have their pictures taken by paparazzi. Still one of Rome’s most prestigious streets with big luxury hotels and prestigious restaurants, but remember that a cup of coffee here costs the same as a full meal elsewhere. The Santa Maria della Concezione “church of the bones” vainly attempts to counteract Via Veneto‘s vanity.

09. Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo

The Castel Sant’Angelo was originally built as a mausoleum and later functioned as both a fortress and a prison. Nowadays it is a mere museum, but from its roof you will be able to enjoy one of the most beautiful views Rome has to offer.

10. Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill are both included in the ticket to the Colosseum. The Palatine Hill is full of ruins of past emperors’ dwellings, while the Roman Forum used to be the center of Rome‘s political and social life. After you have visited these ruins we recommend a climb the Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio). The view from here shows you more of how the Forum was structured at the time.

Santi Luca e Martina Church Rome

The Santi Luca e Martina Church is located next to of the Roman Forum in Rome. From the viewpoint on the Capitol Hill there is a beautiful view over the dome of this church. The interior was used in 2016 for the TV series “The Young Pope” as the interior of the St. Peter’s Basilica. The official name of the church is Santi Luca e Martina al Foro Romano.

Santi Luca e Martina Church Rome

Address, opening hours and entrance fee

The address of the Chiesa dei Santi Luca e Martina al Foro Romano is Via della Curia, 2 – Rome (tel. +39 06 6798848 (Accademia Nazionale di San Luca) ). Bus: 51, 85, 87, 117, 186, 810, FRP. Opening Hours: Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Entrance fee: Free.

History and description

Santi Luca e Martina Church Rome
Santi Luca e Martina Church

The Santi Luca and Martina Church was built in the 7th century by order of Pope Honorius I on the edge of the Roman Forum. At the time it was only dedicated to Santa Martina, who died a martyr’s death in Rome in the year 228.

Pope Sixtus donated the church in 1588 to the Accademia di San Luca (where drawing and painting were taught).

It was rebuilt by, first, Ottaviano Mascherino and then (in 1635) Pietro Da Cortona. This last renovation was completed in 1669, the year in which Da Cortonadied.

During the renovation, the remains of Saint Martina were found by accident.

The facade of Santi Luca and Martina Church is convex. It consists of two levels. At the very top is the coat of arms of Urban VIII, with statues depicting angels on both sides. The dome seems to be slightly behind the façade.

The interior of the church is characterized by a Greek cross with four apses.

Since it is forbidden to film or make TV series within the walls of the Vatican, Paolo Sorrentino used the interior of the Santi Luca e Martina Church in 2016 for his TV series “The Young Pope”.


On the floor of the central nave you can see a memorial plaque under which Pietro Da Cortona himself is buried.

A plaque on the wall of the right chapel refers to a restoration commissioned by Pope Alexander IV in 1256.

At the main altar is a “San Luca Painting the Madonna”. This is a copy by Antiveduta Gramatica of an original painting by Raphael that can be seen in the Accademia di San Luca.

In the crypt, which was designed by Pietro da Cortona, two reliefs by the hand of Alessandro Algardi can be seen.

The altarpiece in the transept was painted by Sebastiano Conca.

The pendentives of the enormous dome are adorned with the symbols of the four Evangelists and were made by Camillo Rusconi.

Santi Luca e Martina Church – Via della Curia 2, Rome

Via Veneto Rome

The Via Vittorio Veneto in Rome was originally just called the Via Veneto, but after World War I the name was changed to “Vittorio Veneto” in honor of a battle having taken place at a village of that name. In reality everybody still calls the street Via Veneto, though.

Via Veneto Rome

History and description

The Via Veneto bacame famous in the 1950’s and 60’s because of its cafes and luxury hotels, which attracted the rich and famous, the would-be’s and the paparazzi. Federico Fellini‘s movie La Dolce Vita made the entire world aware of the street.

The street was constructed in the 19th century and meanders uphill to the Villa Borghese park. There are numerous interesting buildings along its sidewalks, the most conspicuous one of which is the Palazzo Margherita, which houses the United States Embassy.

Other palazzi of a certain grandeur are the Palazzo Coppedé and the Palazzo Excelsior (which has been turned into a hotel). The Palazzo Hotel Majestic, the Palazzo Hotel Balestra, the Palazzo Hotel Flora and the Palazzo Hotel Palace are other examples of buildings changed into luxury hotels.

In the middle of all this wealth stands the Chiesa di Santa Maria Immacolata a Via Veneto, otherwise known as the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. When asking directions you had better ask for the church with the bones, though, thanks to its crypt, which uses the skeletons of 4000 cappuccin monks to make a point about life and death.

Tourist attractions Via Veneto

Palazzo Margerita

The Palazzo Margherita is the seat of the American Embassy in Rome. The building is named for Queen Margherita of Savoy, who took up residence there after king Umberto I was murdered by the anarchist Gaetano Bresci in 1900.

Santa Maria della Concezione Church

The Santa Maria della Concezione Church is found on the right side when walking up the Via Veneto from the Piazza Barberini. It is often called Chiesa dei Capuccini, since it is run by Capuchin monks. The church was built in 1624.

Capuchin Crypt

Capuchin Crypt - Via Veneto Rome

The biggest attraction of the church used to be its Capuchin Crypt. This has now been made part of a small museum dedicated to the Capuchin Order. In the crypt the skeletons of a number of monks can be seen. Its walls are decorated with the bones of another 4000 monks.

Public transport

The nearest metro stop to the Via Veneto is Barberini (line A). The closest bus stop is Veneto-Barberini (lines 53, 61, 62, 63, 80, 83, 85, 150F, 160, 492, C3, CINE, N1, N4, N5, N12, N25).

Via Veneto – Rome

Sacro Cuore di Gesu a Castro Pretorio Church Rome

The Sacro Cuore di Gesu a Castro Pretorio Church is a relatively new church in Rome. It is located in the Via Marsala, right by the main railway station Roma Termini. It was built between 1879 and 1887, by San Giovanni Bosco, who was helped by Francesco Vespignani.

Sacro Cuore di Gesu a Castro Pretorio Church Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Via Marsala, 42 – Rome (District: Castro Pretorio). Tel.: +39 064453257. Public transport: Metro: Termini. Opening hours: Monday to friday from 09.00 to 12.00 and from 16.00 to 18.30.Closed: Saturday, sunday. Admission: Free.

History and description

Sacro Cuore di Gesu a Castro Pretorio Church Rome

The neo-Renaissance travertine façade consists of an entrance portal between two smaller portals on the lower half and three windows divided by columns on the upper half. The whole is topped off with a triangular gable.

The most striking part of the church is its bell-tower, which is crowned by an enormous copper statue of Jezus.

The three naves are separated by granite columns. Most of the decorations in the church itself are by Virginio Monti.

Don Bosco

In the back of the church the room Don Bosco stayed in when he was in Rome (1887) for the consecration of the church can be seen. The wall between his bedroom and his study has been removed, in order to create more space for visitors who wish to pray here. Two of the miracles that helped elevate Don Bosco to sainthood were performed in this room. Amongst the relics there is a cotton wad with the saint’s blood on it.

Via Marsala, 42 – Rome

Rose Garden Rome

Rome’s Municipal Rose Garden (Roseto Comunale) is located on the Aventine Hill, in the Via di Valle Murcia and apart from (especially while the renowned competition is going on) being an interesting tourist attraction in its own right, it also offers a gorgeous view of a.o. the Palatine Hill and the Circus Maximus. It also hosts the Premio Roma, an extremely prestigious annual rose competition (see below for dates and hours in 2014).

Rose Garden Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Via di Valle Murcia – 00153 Rome (tel. +39 065746810). Metro: Circo Massimo. Bus: 81, 628 (stop: Circo Massimo-Roseto Comunale). Opening hours 2018: From October 15th till 28th from 08.30 till 18.00 the Rose Garden will be open for the autumn bloom. Admission: Free. Guided tours can be arranged by phone or e-mail: rosetoromacapitale@comune.roma.it. (Handicapped: There is a special entrance at the Clivo dei Publicii, 3.)

History and description

Menorah Shaped Rose Garden
Menorah Shaped Rose Garden

Already in the 3rd century BC the area where the Roseto is located was a place where flowers were grown and through the years it stayed a site of vineyards and flower gardens.

In the year 1645 it became the Garden of the Jews (Orto degli Ebrei) and it remained that way until the year 1934, when the Jewish cemetery was moved to the Verano. For years nothing was done with the land until 1950, when it became the new seat of the rose garden.

The Roseto Comunale, then in the Colle Oppio park, had become Rome’s official Rose Garden in 1932, at the initiative of (Countess) Mary Gailey Senni, who was married to an Italian nobleman. The following year the Premio Roma was organized for the first time.

Roseto Comunale
Roseto Comunale in Rome

When the new Roseto was opened, an obelisk was placed at its entrance, commemorating its former use as a sacred Jewish site. Moreover, the alleys dividing the various sections of the gardens were organized in the shape of the Jewish menorah.

The Roseto has around 1.100 different species of roses on display. The higher, bigger part of the garden contains the permanent collection, while the lower part shows the roses that participated in the Premio Roma.

Via di Valle Murcia – Rome