"Maggiore or Prenestina Gate (Porta Maggiore/ Prenestina)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 11th July 2011
The site on which this gate stands is the highest point of the Esquiline Hill, this could explain why eight of eleven aqueducts bringing water to Rome were reaching this point from where could send it in different directions of the city.
The Porta Maggiore or Porta Prenestina (Maggiore or Prenestina Gate) was a part of aqueduct crossing in this point two roads via Prenestina and via Labicana (now Via Casilina). Emperor Claudius in the year when the works over it construction were finished (52 AD) celebrated it with creation of this monument on the base of two archways belonging to the aqueduct. After some time a long tract of this water-carring construction were incorporated in the city walls, which happened also to the monument of Claudius, and this is how it became one of the city gates. support the pipes of the Aqua Claudia and the Aniene river, that passed through the tall aqueduct. In fact, the two arches of Porta Maggiore were once a section of the aqueduct of Claudius. Under the gate you can see the original ancient road and on the arches are the inscriptions dating back to emperors Vespasianus and Titus.
In the epoch of Honorius (405 AD) some fortified towers were built and 1828 destroyed permitting to bring out to the light the monumental construction of Porta Maggiore. The name "Maggiore" probably comes from the fact that the road leading to the basilica Santa Maria Maggiore (also called Basilica di Porta Maggiore or Basilica of Maggiore Gate) was passing under the gate. ..
Underground Basilica of Porta Maggiore-called Neo-Pythagorean (Basilica Sotterranea di Porta Maggiore cd Neopitagorica)
This Underground Basilica of Porta Maggiore-called Neo-Pythagorean (Basilica Sotterranea di Porta Maggiore cd Neopitagorica) was found by chance in 1917 under one of the tracks of the railway Rome-Naples. There are many speculations about the use of the building. It could be a sanctuary of the neo- Pythagorean cult destroyed under emperor Claudius or, most probably, a funerary basilica, dating back to the late Augustan age or the age of Tiberius. The atrium and hall have a mosaic white floor with two black stripes along the walls and around the pillars. Walls and vault are plastered and covered with coloured stuccoes with representations of mythic scenes, masks, decorations. In the apse is represented the poet Sappho jumping into the water from the rock of Leucas.
On the outside of the Porta Maggiore, is the unusual Tomb (Tomb near the Porta Maggiore/ Sepolcro presso Porta Maggiore) of the Baker (Mark Virgilius Eurysaces, an owner of a bakery producing bread for some State organization or its representatives, and his wife Atistia) discovered in 1838. This pretentious monument, built entirely of travertine, dates from 30 b.C. The circular openings represent the mouths of a baker's oven; above is a frieze illustrating the stages of bread-making.
Tomb near the Porta Maggiore or Sepolcro presso Porta Maggiore
Maggiore or Prenestina Gate (Porta Maggiore/ Prenestina)
Piazza di Porta Maggiore (Via di Porta Maggiore)
Via Prenestina, 15,
00182, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Quartiere Prenestino Labicano (Roma east)
Maggiore or Prenestina Gate (Porta Maggiore/ Prenestina) is Shown By "Map L Zone" As "1"
Note: The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore Closed to the public. Call 0039 06 699841 for current situation.