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Porta San Sebastiano, Rome

4.7
#163 of 459 in Historic Sites in Rome
The Porta San Sebastiano is the largest and one of the best-preserved gates passing through the Aurelian Walls in Rome (Italy).Originally known as the Porta Appia, the gate sat astride the Appian Way, the regina viarum (queen of the roads), which originated at the Porta Capena in the Servian Wall. During the Middle Ages probably it was also called Accia (or Dazza or Datia), a name whose etymology is quite uncertain, but arguably associated with the river Almone, called "acqua Accia", that flowed nearby. A document ca. AD 1434 calls it Porta Domine quo vadis. The present name is attested only since the second half of 15th century, due to the vicinity to the Basilica of San Sebastiano and its catacombs.The original structure was constructed by Aurelian ca. AD 275 and included a double-arched opening surmounted by bow windows and two semi-cylindrical towers. The façade was faced with travertine. After a later restoration, the towers were enlarged, increased, and linked, through two parallel walls, to the preexisting Arch of Drusus.In AD 401-402 Emperor Honorius reshaped the gate with a single fornix and a higher attic with two rows of six bow windows each; it was also provided with an uncovered chemin de ronde with merlons. The bases of the towers were incorporated within two square-plan platforms, faced with marble. A later modification yielded the gate's present form, in which a floor has been added to the whole structure, towers included. Due to the absence of the usual plate commemorating the works, some archaeologists doubt that the work has not been carried out by Honorius, who left panegyric epigraphs on any other restored part of the walls or the gates.
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  • The construction of the Aurelian walls (which took place under the Emperor in 275 ad) was one of the first signs of weakness of the Empire, when you began to fear the possibility of a barbarian invasion in Rome. Just a century earlier, given the strength and stability of the Empire, such a hypothesis would have been absolutely unthinkable. This monumental gate was built on the new boundary wall at the Via Appia, from which it took its original name "Porta Appia". The "regina viarum" was the most important and busy street of ancient Rome, because it linked the city with the rich Eastern provinces of the Empire. So this became the most widely used of the walls with a feature not only military but also economic and commercial; here was in fact the control of goods coming into town and the payment of the relevant duties. The original building, completely covered with travertine, it featured two massive towers on the sides and two wide arches at the bottom. After a few decades, on the inside the door was connected to the nearby Arch of Drusus (artifact dating back to the 3rd century AD) to be with this one defensive system. Increased the threat of barbarians in the early 5th century the port was reinforced by building a robust merlata between the towers, to which were added a parapet and a fortified for the guard. Below the round towers were incorporated into square pillars and dropped a single fornix. Closing the gap was probably in a heavy wooden door, protected by a solid metal barrier that moved up and down two deep grooves, still visible on the walls. The dedication to St Sebastian, due to its proximity to the homonymous catacombs, dates back to the Renaissance period. During the long centuries the structure while maintaining its general lines, was the subject of ongoing renovations and changes which actually looks in good condition. Predictably, throughout the middle ages and the modern age from here entered triumphantly to Rome leaders, Kings and emperors with their armies; as Charles V in 1537, and Marcantonio Colonna, Victor over the Turks at Lepanto in 1571. Of events and battles that took place near here was sometimes trace on the structure. The graffiti on the door jamb to the left of those who entered the city, depicting the Archangel Michael while skewering a dragon with his spear, and the Latin inscription next to commemorate a victorious battle fought on 29 September 1327 (ANNO DOMINI MCCCXXVII ... MENSE SEPTEMBRIS DIES PENULTIMATE) feast of Saint Michael (IN FESTO SANCTI MICHAELIS) from a Roman militia captained by some Jacopo dei Ponziani (IACOBO DE PONTIANIS) against the troops of the King of Naples Robert of Anjou. Even people of humble origins, pilgrims, merchants, peasants, etc., passing by the thousands under the arch carved everywhere crosses and Christian symbols, invocations and even driving directions. Above the inner arch is visible a small cross inscribed in a circle, bearing an ancient Greek dedication to Saint Conon and Giorgio. An inscription at the base of the right Tower, survived incomplete, indicating the direction to follow to reach the Basilica of Saint John Lateran: HERE you go to s. THU ... Currently houses the halls of the small Door San Sebastiano Museum of the walls, opened at the end of the last century. Installation, through some archaeological and several information panels, tells the story of defensive structures of ancient Rome: from the old Servian walls (dating back to monarchy) in these larger, well come down to us. Are also described the changes undergone by the walls during the middle ages and centuries. You can admire the view of the surroundings from the top of the towers, and also take a stretch of the old walkway. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 09.00 to 14.00. Admission is free, at least for now.
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  • Yes, that's right. Just from this gate starts the legendary Appian way leading to Ostia ... and the gate of the world respectively. You need to try to pass (pass) at least once and feel "aggressive spirit" of the ancient Romans. And if you stand in silence in the evening-you can hear as Roman legionaries marching on volcanic cobblestones ... which to the present day covers the Roman streets. Give it a shot!
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  • It is the largest and one of the best preserved of the doors in the defensive wall of the Aurelian walls of Rome. The original name was Porta Appia as from there passed the street of the same name. Built around 275 ad, it originally had two arches, then, on the occasion of the renovation work in the 401-402 by Emperor Honorius, was redesigned with a single vault housing, with an attic floor in which there are two rows of six arched Windows and a crenellated walkway. Within the "Museo delle mura" with free admission
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  • Historic scenery. Very nice!
  • Beautiful views from top of tower.
  • For Roman History Nerds, there's a museum about the walls themselves and you can bike down the Appian Way all the way down up to Circus Massenzio
  • Wonderful monument to discover. Museum is for free
  • One of the entrances of the Appian way old.
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