The Pyramid of Cestius in Rome: an hidden gem reopens to the public
October brought a great novelty to the eternal city. The Capitoline Superintendency has decided to reopen one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the capital, the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, a true symbol of the Ostiense district, to the public, free of charge.
A beloved monument among tourists and, more importantly, among the Romans, for whom it has always been a point of reference, it will be open to the public every Sunday for three appointments at one-hour intervals, at 10 am, 11 am, and 12 pm, with a maximum of twenty-five visitors per shift.
The visits will be coordinated by archaeologist Barbara Rossi, the site’s manager, and reservations are mandatory on the website www.soprintendenzaspecialeroma.it.
As superintendent Daniela Porro also states, “This reopening represents an opportunity for citizens who want to learn more about the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, an archaeological monument symbolizing the urban fabric of the capital.”
The Enigmatic History of the Pyramid of Cestius
The Pyramid of Cestius was built in 12 BC by the will of Gaius Cestius Epulone, who desired an Egyptian-inspired tomb for himself, one that would be worthy of his lineage and status. Standing at 36 meters tall, it greets the public with an imposing white marble facade, making it immediately recognizable amidst the city’s traffic and surrounding buildings.
The Pyramid of Cestius has reached our days in excellent condition as the sole example of a structure inspired by ancient Egypt. Its pyramid shape is a clear homage to Egyptian architecture, which was of great interest to the ancient Romans during the period when the pyramid was built.
A unique guided Tour inside the Pyramid
But what can you see during the guided tour?
The experience will certainly be unique and captivating. Venturing into the heart of the monument, you can access the burial chamber, approximately 23 square meters in size, with a barrel vault, walled up at the time of burial, following the custom of ancient Egyptians. During the Middle Ages, there was the first episode of tomb violation through a tunnel dug on the northern side, leading to the loss of the cinerary urn and significant portions of the decoration.
If you are planning a walking tour in the southern area of Rome, between Porto Fluviale and Ostiense, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this fascinating monument that has come down to us, suspended between history and mystery.