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Walk through history as Rome’s ‘Area Sacra’ becomes an open-air museum

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Walk through history as Rome’s 'Area Sacra' becomes an open-air museum

History-lovers visiting Rome in 2022 are in for a treat, because the historic Area Sacra in Largo di Torre Argentina is set to undergo extensive restoration work that will make it accessible.

The sunken area is where the remains of four Republican-era temples are located, all built between the second and fourth centuries BCE. The Theatre of Pompey is also located there, with the Curia of Pompey located at its entrance. The latter was a meeting hall where Julius Caesar was believed to be murdered in 44 BCE.

The sunken area is where the remains of four Republican-era temples are located © Geoff Stringer/Lonely Planet

The Area Sacra is also famous for housing a colony of hundreds of Rome’s stray cats. The cats are fed and cared for by a private non-profit shelter, and visitors love to capture images of them scampering through the ruins. The ruins were uncovered between 1926 and 1930 when the demolishing of medieval houses revealed them underneath.

Cat in Largo Argentina
Area Sacra houses a colony of hundreds of Rome’s stray cats © Roy James Shakespeare

They are off-limits to humans and can only be viewed from street level, but that will change when the renovations are continued. Work on the archaeological site will see it receiving elevated and lit walkways, footpaths, an elevator and a covered exhibition area. This will allow visitors to enter the sunken site to see the ruins of the temples and a circular monument to the goddess of Fortune.

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The work is due to begin shortly and will take a year to complete, and the project is co-financed by the Italian fashion company, Bulgari. The aim is to attract visitors to the area when the COVID-19 pandemic is under control and travel returns. Happily for feline-lovers, the city has given assurances that the upcoming works will not affect the area where the historic colony is housed.

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Source : Lonelyplanet

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