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Tomb of the Scipios, Rome

4.2
#236 of 526 in Historic Sites in Rome
The Tomb of the Scipios, also called the hypogaeum Scipionum, was the common tomb of the patrician Scipio family during the Roman Republic for interments between the early 3rd century BC and the early 1st century AD. Then it was abandoned and within a few hundred years its location was lost.
The tomb was rediscovered twice, the last time in 1780 and stands under a hill by the side of the road behind a wall at numbers 9 and 12 Via di Porta San Sebastiano, Rome, where it can be visited by the public for a small admission fee. The location was privately owned on discovery of the tomb but was bought by the city in 1880 at the suggestion of Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani. A house was subsequently built in a previous vineyard there. The current main entrance to the tomb is an arched opening in the side of the hill, not the original main entrance. After discovery the few surviving remains were moved and interred with honor elsewhere or unknowingly discarded. The moveables—the one whole sarcophagus and the fragments of other sarcophagi—were placed on display in the hall of the Pio-Clementino Museum at the Vatican in 1912. The sepulchre is a rock-cut chambered tomb on the interior, with the remains of a late façade on the exterior.
During the republic the tomb stood in a cemetery for notables and their families located in the angle between the Via Appia and the Via Latina on a connecting road joining the two just past the branch point. It was originally outside the city not far from where the Via Appia passed through the Servian Wall at the Porta Capena. In subsequent centuries new construction changed the landmarks of the vicinity entirely. The wall was expanded to become the Aurelian Wall through which the Porta Appia admitted the Via Appia. The cemetery was now inside the city. The Appian gate today is called the Porta San Sebastiano. Before it is the so-called Arch of Drusus, actually a section of aqueduct. The Via Appia at that location was renamed to the Via di Porta San Sebastiano. It passes through the Parco degli Scipioni where the cemetery once was located. The via is open to traffic. Most of it is lined by walls.
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Tomb of the Scipios Reviews
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  • The tomb of the patriarch of this highly significant Roman Family is in The Vatican Museum. Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus was probably born around 340 BC (Died 280 BC) at a “make or break” point in...  more »
  • Along the stretch of the via Appia Antica, left out from Porta Capena-within the Aurelian walls and before Porta s. Sebastiano-a massive wall conceals one of the most beautiful tombs of the ancient world. Belonged for about three centuries to the family of Scipioni, in May of 1780 was rediscovered accidentally by the owners of the land above. During excavations to expand a cellar back to light an entrance to the Tomb. Built in the first decades of the 3rd century BC gathers the remains of numerous Senatorial ancestry; starting from founder Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus. Father of general Lucius Cornelius "Asian" and grandfather of Publius Cornelius "Africanus" goes into history for the numerous feats accomplished. The most striking-from console-in 298 BC when, near Volterra, leads the Roman army to victory against the Etruscans. Her sarcophagus-peperino, elegantly decorated with mouldings at the base and a Doric frieze-is placed in a large niche created at the bottom of the gallery. Today we admire the faithful copy of the original because the latter is located in the Vatican museums. There was transferred shortly after the discovery along with inscriptions and ornaments, taken from the most artistic of twelve Crypts. Less artistic value or historical inscriptions are still visible in the cemetery: painted or sculpted bear the names of the owners, the positions held in life; and illustrate the moral qualities. In subsequent excavations were found thirty other burials. Most of them made in "olle urns": pot-bellied jars with lid-created primarily in terracotta or travertine-where, after cremation, ashes and bones of the dead were transferred. The burial ground had been dug within a monumental façade carved in the tufa rock. The historian Livy recalls that in the three niches of the exterior elevation had been entered as many statues. Two of the most popular parent's relatives depicted respectively: Publius Cornelius "Africanus" and Lucius Cornelius "Asian"; and the epic poet Ennius. The author of the "Annales" he had family ties with gli Scipioni. The placement of the statue along with those of the big two of the family was the concrete expression of gratitude towards those who-as we celebrate in verse the story of Rome from the legendary origins with the arrival of Aeneas, up in his day--had exalted the deeds the famous Roman Gens. Curious detail: none of the characters represented in the three statues was buried at the monument. Livy says that the façade was completed with a sumptuous decorative painting; which, unfortunately, came to us only a few, faint traces. Passing the entrance, a dense network of tunnels spread over a large area with almost square. Four great pillars divide the burial ground, which is divided into three longitudinal galleries flanking the sides, and in three traversals, intersecting at the Center. Along the walls are carved out niches designed to contain the sarcophagi: some, Tuff, made on site; other building blocks, taken from the outside. The inscriptions found in the Tomb revealed key information about funerary rites in the era. And gave important historical indications about influential family, which for two centuries has seen its members hold some of the highest political and military positions in Republican Rome. Example of illustrious character: the General Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus. Nicknamed the "minor" African in 151 BC actively contributes to the successful campaign of Spain against the celtiberians; and, in 149 BC to the final defeat of Carthage. He was responsible for the enlargement of the tomb and the opening of a new entrance on the Appian way. The decision to place the funeral building a short distance from "Regina Viarum" and to open a new entrance in the same street, had a clear political motivation. Inaugurated in 312 b.c., leads (va) from Rome to Capua. subsequently to Brindisi. The intent of the manufacturer, the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, was to facilitate the expansionist policy of Rome to the South and East toward the Magna Greece and the Hellenistic world. The burial ground near the via Appia meant that they shared and supportive expansionary strategy gli Scipioni of Rome towards those directions. Extinct gli Scipioni, at the beginning of the 1st century BC, the last burials were two belonging to the collateral branch of Charles Getulici Lentulo spirals. Between 1926 and 1929 the entire area was acquired by the city of Rome and becomes the object of a vast and growing campaign of excavations and restorations. Repeated in subsequent decades, have brought to light a series of more underground tunnels used as catacombs from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The latest series of works, completed in 2011, involved the placement of a large area, from the ancient via Latina and via di Porta San Sebastiano. A long Central Avenue from the entrance on via di Porta Latina crossing a park with pine trees, cypresses, Oaks, laurels, MyrtleS; and crosses the side avenues that flank the many, important archaeological remains. Including the beautiful Columbarium used until the second century a.d., named after the liberto Pomponius Hylas and his wife Vitalinis. Thus was born the "Archeological Park of the scipios". That argument, however, given the historical significance that requires further development; Unfortunately not possible here. Useful information: entrance on Via di Porta San Sebastiano, 9. it is allowed only to groups accompanied: maximum 12 people at a time. Reservations required at 060608 every day at 9.00-19.00 Cost admission: €4.00 €3.00 reduced in cost does not include the guided tour, you have to play by some cultural associations. One of such advice to consult beforehand to arrange day and time of the visit.
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  • Located on the via Appia antica, rich in history and charm. The first mention of it dates back to about 1600, but finds the real discovery dates back to 1780, when the two brother priests, owners of the vineyard above, widening the entrance to the cellar they found a tomb.
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Google
  • No entry. After a long hard walk to see a fence. Apparently the place is too good for mere mortals who want to casually visit it. Very frustrating!
  • The tomb itself is interesting to see, but difficult to get access to, as you are obliged to go with a cultural association. The tour was not interesting as the guide focused mainly on translating inscriptions from Latin, rather than the history of the powerful Scipio family and failed to bring the structure to life. A great shame more people don't get to visit this tomb.
  • A cozy, clean place. Friendly and professional staff. Very well prepared dishes. The tradition from the plate to the palate without complex aggravations, but simple and direct. Deserves all our appreciation with the promise to be your guests again. Be patient is always full, but once seated everything proceeds wonderfully. Great local tasting menu.
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  • Very exciting, but you need to know something about the family and the story, to get something out of it... But it's just special to stand opposite the Sakrofaen for one of the most significant families in Rome's ancient history
    View original
  • A cozy, clean place. Friendly and professional staff. Very well prepared dishes. The tradition from the plate to the palate without complex aggravations, but simple and direct. Deserves all our appreciation with the promise to be your guests again. Be patient is always full, but once seated everything proceeds wonderfully. Great local tasting menu.
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