Mausolo de Augusto to open in Rome, Tomb of Emperor Augustus

(CNN) – He was the first Roman emperor who took over from Julius Caesar and created an empire that would eventually stretch from Britain to Egypt, boasting on his death bed that “I built Rome with bricks, and left it marble.” . “

But Emperor Augustus did not receive such a payment when he died in 14CE.

His grave – a huge, circular mausoleum, which was the largest in the city when it was built – was abandoned for centuries.

With its roof collapsing and the cypress planted around it left to grow wild, it is a far cry from the long carefully preserved colosseum and Roman Forum.

In fact, for the last 80 years, it has been closed to the public, with a brief opening in 2000 to commemorate the city’s Jubilee Year, and again in 2007 before being closed for archaeological investigations.

It was expected that it would reopen in 2014, 2,000 years after Augustus’s death. In the end, though, conservation work is still ongoing, it was opened on day one.

But eventually, the 13-year restoration has come to an end, and is to be opened to the public in March 2021.

A full scale renovation

After decades of uneasiness, it will open to the public again.

Sovintendenza Capitolina a Beni Culture

The cost of the restoration, completed in two phases, is over € 10 million ($ 12 million). Stage One, partly Italian cultural heritage and activities, and funded by Roman authorities, was completed in 2019. It oversaw the restoration of the monument.

Stage two, funded by Fondajian TIM, the social arm of Telecom Italia, to the tune of € 6 million ($ 7,300,000), focuses on interior locations, and is set up for tourism.

Huge structural works have been done to protect the mausoleum, and a spiral staircase leading to the roof of the monument has been rebuilt.

The Fondajian TIM has also funded the restoration of the burial place, and the landscaping surrounding the mausoleum.

Even the outskirts, Piazza Augusto Imperatoral, are being renovated. Till now, the tomb has been a roundabout, around which cars were parked. Work is scheduled to end in December 2021.

Grand neighbor

Moussolo di Augusto was the largest circular mausoleum in the ancient world.

The tomb was originally as large as the Pincusian hill.

Sovintendenza Capitolina a Beni Culture

This is not the first aspect for archaeological remains in the area. Nearby is Ara Pacis – a grand, ceremonial altar built to commemorate Augustus’ return from his campaigns in Gaul and Spain in 13 BCE, with intricate sculptures of the royal family as part of a procession.

In 2006, the old pavilion around it was replaced by the architecture of glass and steel by architect Richard Meier, which is a work of art in itself. The altar is now visible from the river Tiber, behind which is the tomb.

Augustus had a big plan for the tomb. The emperor – who was born in 63BCE, and took power in 27BCE – began work on it in 28BCE, following his victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium, when “Augustus” was only Octavian – under his name. First he became the emperor.

A grand, marble-wrapped tomb

Moussolo di Augusto was the largest circular mausoleum in the ancient world.

There was a lot of internal damage over the centuries.

Sovintendenza Capitolina a Beni Culture

Built for him and his family, it is the largest circular mausoleum in the ancient world, with a diameter of about 90 meters and a height of at least 45 meters, which can be obtained from the remains. Only one third of the original monument has survived.

Its enormous size made it almost as large as the nearby Pincian hill, and was located by the Tiber so that it was visible from most of the city.

Although today it appears to be made of brick, originally, those walls were covered in travertine marble, only traces of which still exist today.

It is believed to have served as a mausoleum for over 100 years before records were lost. It was next mentioned in the 10th century.

From a fort to a amphitheater

The mausoleum visited in 1963, when construction of the area was low.

The tomb, seen in 1963, is next to Tiber.

Museo di Roma, Archivio Photographico

In the medieval period, a fort was built over the remains, but was destroyed in 1241. Subsequently, the structure was gradually demolished, with the marble being used to remove it.

In the 16th century, the owners of a nearby Palazzo converted the mausoleum into a garden. By the 1780s it was being used as an amphibian, with bullfighting and eviction on display. In the 19th century it was covered by a glass dotme and used for theater shows; By the 20th century it was being used as an auditorium hall, the auditorium Augusto.

Its new life came to an end only in 1936, when fascist rule – bent on excavating and preserving the city’s heritage, to align itself with ancient Rome – to demolish the cupola and modern buildings, unveiling One more grave for.

Restoration work was halted during World War II, and resumed in the 1950s.

The site opens on 1 March 2021, and the 22 April visits will include virtual and augmented reality elements. Tickets for 50-minute trips – which are free before April 21 – must be booked in advance at The lift will be in use from April 22 – before that, there is no phase-free access.


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