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Bill Thayer

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The Porta Flaminia


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You are standing on the Via Flaminia in the modern Piazza del Popolo looking almost due north. As you pass thru this gate, you will be leaving the city limits of Rome as they were in Late Antiquity. (Step back a bit: this offsite image gives a wider view.)

The Porta Flaminia was the gate thru which the road crossed the Aurelian Walls, but what you see here is not it.

The ground level is 1.50 m above that of Roman times, the siting has been shifted slightly, and most importantly the structure was totally rebuilt in the Renaissance by the ubiquitous Vignola based on a design by Michelangelo, although that isn't absolutely certain, and may just be a sort of compromise guess: see Titi's guide, 1763. The gate was modified in 1655 on the occasion of Queen Christina's entry into Rome, an inscription being added by way of greeting. Some old towers flanking the gate made it thru 1877, but were demolished to add the side arches you now see. For an interesting discovery when those towers were demolished, see Rodolfo Lanciani's account of a very peculiar inscription. The serious student will also look at the article in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

Behind you, one of the twenty-odd obelisks of Rome. Not to worry, it wasn't here in Antiquity either, rather on the spina of the Circus Maximus. For further details, see Obeliscus Augusti in Circo Maximo in Platner; also this photo.


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Page updated: 1 Dec 12