From Porta San Sebastiano to Porta San Paolo


9_Porta San Sebastiano - Porta San Paolo

The initial stretch of the wall-walk is accessible from the Museo delle Mura, and includes six towers. The entire stretch of walls can be walked along from the outside on via di Porta Ardeatina. On exiting Porta S. Sebastiano, there is an archway which could be part of a second opening in the walls made to ease the passage of pilgrims during Jubilee years and, before the archways opened to allow transit on via C. Colombo, the so-called Aredeatina postern, in the proximity of which a stretch of stone-paved road is preserved. Just beyond this point is the imposing structure of the sixteenth century Bastione Ardeatino, attributed to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. There are also some Papal coats-of-arms commemorating the various restorations carried out along this route, which includes 40 towers.

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

Via di Porta San Sebastiano, 18
Always visible.

Along the via Appia, the regina viarum, is the gate of the same name in the Aurelian Walls. Porta Appia was originally constituted by twin arches flanked by two semi-circular brickwork towers. Its first significant transformation was due to the Emperor Honorius, in the early 5th century, and numerous works throughout the centuries have further altered its appearance. During the Middle Ages, the gate was named Porta San Sebastiano, in remembrance of the martyr who is buried in the catacombs along the via Appia. Inside the gate is the Museo delle Mura, in which plastic reconstructions and informative panels illustrate the history of the defensive walls of the city. The terrace above one of the two towers gives a fantastic view. The covered wall-walk can also be accessed, which is a pleasant walk marked by towers every 30 metres.

8b_museo mura
Via di Porta San Sebastiano, 18
Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:00-14:00 24th and 31st December 9:00-14:00. Closed on December 25th, January 1st, May 1st. Admission fee.

The Museo delle Mura is inside Porta San Sebastiano, and is divided into three sections – ancient, medieval and modern – comprising informative panels with texts, colour drawings and photographs. It covers the history of the fortifications and their significance to the city, analysing previous ones, the historical-political background, strategic choices, the construction technique used and the restorations and subsequent transformations. The terrace of the main structure between the two towers and that on the western tower can be accessed.

Piazzale Ostiense
Always visible.

The ancient porta Ostiensis, named after the road of the same name leading to Ostia, took its current name of Porta S. Paolo from the nearby basilica in honour of the Apostle.
Originally with two archways and semi-circular towers at the sides, it was transformed under Maxentius (306-312) with the addition of an internal storm door with twin archways, and the towers were reinforced and raised. At the time of Honorius (401-403), the external gate was reduced to a single arch and the towers raised by one level. As told by Procopius, in 550 the Goths under Totila managed to conquer the city by bribing the Isaurians guarding the gate.
On 10 September 1943, it was the scene of the last desperate attempt to resist the German occupation of Rome, during which 570 people lost their lives and are commemorated by inscriptions. The bombing in 1944 destroyed the stretch of the walls linking the gate to the Pyramid, where the road dedicated to R. Persichetti, who was killed in the fighting, now is.
The gate is now the site of the Museo della via Ostiense.

Via Raffaele Persichetti
Every day except Monday 9:00-13:30. Closed on December 25th, January 1st, May 1st and bank holidays. Admission fee.

The museum was opened in 1954 inside Porta San Paolo to illustrate the topography of the area between Rome and Ostia, which in Roman times was the location of the important road link of via Ostiense. There are materials from the area preserved in the museum, including inscriptions and tombstones. On the first level of the two towers, there are to major plastic reproductions of the ancient city of Ostia and the complex of the Imperial ports of Claudius and Trajan. The eastern tower contains the remains of frescoes from the late 13th and early 14th centuries which decorated a chapel where a Byzantine community used to congregate.

How to get the step: From Porta San Sebastiano to Porta San Paolo

Aurelian Walls, Rome, Italy


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