From Porta Portese to Porta Settimiana


12_Tevere-Porta Settimiana

The stretch of the walls on the right bank of the Tiber is rather fragmentary. In addition to a few portions of the original route, all that remains are three gates (Porta Portuense/Portese, Porta Aurelia/San Pancrazio and Porta Settimiana) rebuilt in modern times, a testimony to the vast almost triangular area converging on the Janiculum that Aurelian had included within the walls. It is in this area either side of the Tiber that Pope Urban VIII intervened to fortify the walls in the 17th century with the walls named after him, with the city under threat from the troops of Duke Odoacre Farnese, who were marching towards Rome after conquering Acquapendente and Orvieto.

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

Via di Porta Portese
Always visible.

This gate was built 453 metres to the north of the Roman Porta Portuensis during the papacy of Urban VIII between 1642 and 1644. However, it was Innocent X, who succeeded Urban VIII, who placed his marble coat-of-arms on the keystone of the arch during its inauguration. Porta Portese was used mainly as a tradesman’s entrance – the ancient toll house is still visible on the right hand side inside the walls – and for the pilgrims travelling up the river from the sea and headed to the Vatican.

Largo di Porta San Pancrazio
Always visible.

The current Porta S. Pancrazio dates back to the mid-19th century, when Pope Pius IX ordered it to be built to replace the one destroyed during the fighting for the Republic of Rome in 1849. The previous gate had been built by Pope Urban VIII together with the new Janiculum walls around the mid-17th century and had in turn replaced the original gateway in the Aurelian Walls, although in a slightly different position. The latter was named after the via Aurelia, on which it was located, but is was more commonly known as Porta San Pancrazio as early as the 6th century, as it was close to the basilica over the tomb of the martyr of the same name.
On the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy in 2011, the Museum of the Republic of Rome and commemorating Garibaldi was opened here.

Via di Porta Settimiana
Always visible.

We do not know what the original gate looked like, as it was completely rebuilt in 1498 and restored in the late-18th century. It has a single arch, surmounted by brackets and crowned by ravens on the inside; there are sixteenth century religious frescoes on both sides, which are rather deteriorated. The gate was crossed by a road which connected Trastevere to the Vatican and became the main route for medieval pilgrims coming from the river port. In the mid-17th century, when the Janiculum walls were built, Porta Settimiana ceased to be used as a defensive outpost and became a simple arch in the city. A tower on the Aurelian Walls is still visible nearby, at the end of the shorter stretch on Vicolo Moroni.

How to get the step: From Porta Portese to Porta Settimiana

Porta Portese, Via di Porta Portese, 00153 Roma, Italy


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