From Porta Asinaria to Porta Metronia


6_Porta Asinaria-Porta Metronia
Beyond Porta Asinaria, the walls almost disappear, surrounded by the modern buildings in the area, and have been significantly restored, as witnessed by the numerous Papal coats-of-arms commemorating the restoration work between 15th and 18th century under Popes Nicholas V, Pius III, Julius II, Urban VIII and Clement XI.

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

5a_Porta Asinaria
Piazzale Appio
Always visible.

At a much lower level that the modern day Piazzale Appio is the ancient Porta Asinaria. Originally constituted by a single archway between two quadrangular towers, the gate enabled traffic to transit along the secondary route of the via Asinaria. In the 5th century, the structure was fortified by the construction of two semi-circular towers flanking the existing ones and the construction of a secondary door for the guards; this was because of its strategic position in terms of accessing the Lateran basilica. The scene of numerous battles, from the Greco-Gothic was (535-554) and the conflict between the Empire and the Papacy (1084), the gate, named Porta Lateranensis, Porta S. Johannis Laterani or Porta de Laterano, continued to serve as a defensive outpost until it was definitively abandoned following the raising of the surrounding ground level as a result of the construction project planned by Gregory XIII and the opening of Porta San Giovanni during the Jubilee in 1575.

Piazza di Porta Metronia
Always visible.

In the traffic dividing flowerbeds in Piazzale Metronio, between two series of openings from the late 1930s, there are traces of an archway in the walls, rising just over one metre above ground level. These are the remains of the ancient Porta Metronia, a postern enabling access to the Celio.
Constituted by a single arch, the opening of the gate is in the brick work of the walls, which in this stretch followed the undulation of the very uneven terrain. In subsequent times, the gate was flanked by the tower rising on the city side of the walls and which is still visible, used as a storm door for the guard corps of for the portcullis.
The gate was closed as early as the 12th century, when Callixtus II (1122) used it as a passage for the Marian waters. There are still signs commemorating the first restoration by the City of Rome in an epigraph dating back to 1157, in the courtyard of the storm door tower. Four hundred and twenty-one years later, a second stone was placed next to the old one documenting another restoration of the storm door under the papacy of Gregory XIII (1579).

How to get the step: From Porta Asinaria to Porta Metronia

Piazzale Appio, 1, 00183 Roma, Italia


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