ROME MUSEUM OF THE AURELIAN WALLS IN ROME
(MUSEO DELLE MURA)
The Museum, whose current set-up was established in 1990, is housed inside the Appia gate, better known by the name of Porta San Sebastiano, which is one of the most important gates in the wall (19 km long).
The wall was built by emperor Aurelian between 290 and 295 AD to oppose the advance of the barbarian peoples.
The gate – which marks the beginning of the extra-urban stretch of the Via Appia Antica – has only one barrel-vault dominated by two covered arcades and by an external communication trench that ends with merlon decorations; two great towers stand out on the sides of the gate, they too are decorated, and there is a podium with a square layout in the bottom part, while in the upper part, they have a semi cylindrical shape, and arched windows.
The facing of the whole structure is in white marble on the podium and with bricks in the upper zone.
The Museum goes back over the history of the city walls, from the Servian walls (VI-IV century BC), to the above-mentioned Aurelian walls, and analyses their different building techniques and construction systems, as well as their numerous transformations and frequent restoration operations which became necessary over the centuries and which constantly changed their original appearance.
In the Museum there are explanatory panels both in Italian and in English which are accompanied by a wealth of graphic and photographic documentation, as well as plastic models that specifically go back over the construction phases of the Aurelian Walls.
A visit to the Museum also includes a walk along the covered communication trench of the walls in the stretch up to the Bastione Ardeatino and access to the terrace at the top of the western tower of the gate, where it is possible to admire a beautiful view of the city which reaches the Castelli Romani.