From Porta Nomentana to Porta San Lorenzo


Mura P. Tiburtina dall'alto foto Persiani

Beyond Porta Nomentana, the walls incorporate the Castra Praetoria, the large barracks for the Imperial Guard built by Tiberius in 27 AD. This area is now partly occupied by the Macao Barracks.
The superimposition of the modern over the ancient is the main reason for the itinerary, which starts from the modern roadway arches in Via dei Ramni. From here, recognisable parts of the Aurelian walls are like islands in a sea of reconstructions and restorations, representing all 17 centuries of the history of the walls. An epitome of this, suggestive because of it decadent appearance, is the presence of Villa Gentili, now Dominici, built above the walls and towers in 1741, to the astonishment of passers-by. Beyond the walls, the claustrophobic vicinity of the buildings in San Lorenzo gives way to a small square opening onto Porta Tiburtina, flanked by its imposing Medieval towers. The opening of the tramway of Tivoli next to the gate leads immediately on to the Augustan arch of Acqua Marcia, with its perfect proportions and still solid enough to support the Felice aqueduct 15 centuries after its construction.

Pictures by permission from Roma Capitale-Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali
Further reproduction prohibited

Viale del Policlinico, 2
Always visible.

The gate is now closed, but the doorposts and eastern tower remain, 75 m to the east of the modern day Porta Pia, but the western tower was destroyed in 1827.

Porta Tiburtina_2
Piazza di Porta San Lorenzo
Always visible.

The gate, named after the via Tiburtina, was built by Aurelian, incorporating, as the internal part of the gate, the monumental arch built in Augustan times (5 BC) to enable the passage of three aqueducts (Aquae Marcia, Iulia and Tepula) above the road. The Augustan arch, of which the part facing city is still easily visible, is perfectly preserved, with its travertine covering, framed by Tuscan-style pillars and with bull’s heads decorating the keystones. Because of this decoration, the gate was named Porta Taurina in the Middle Ages. It is also known as Porta S. Lorenzo, as the Basilica of S. Lorenzo is nearby. The outline of the gate was built under the Emperors Arcadius and Honorius (401-402). During the papacy of Pope Sixtus V, in 1586-1590, work was done on this stretch of the walls to enable the passage of the Felice aqueduct, a cross-section of which is still visible after part of the walls were removed for the passage of the new via Tiburtina. The work done in the nineteenth century also uncovered the remains of an ancient tomb from the Republican Age, the presence of which has forced the gate to be oblique in appearance. Towards the outside, the gate was defended by two semi-circular towers, replaced in 1586 by quadrangular towers on the wishes of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, whose coat-of-arms is preserved on the southern tower.

How to get the step: From Porta Nomentana to Porta San Lorenzo

Piazza di Porta S. Lorenzo, 00185 Roma, Italy


Find your current position or insert your starting address

Distance Units

Search the steps near you

GPS location and distance parameters are required