Pyramid of Cestius or Piramide Cestia (Piramide di Caio Cestio)

"Pyramid of Cestius or Piramide Cestia (Piramide di Caio Cestio)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Sunday 26th June 2011

Pyramid of Cestius or Piramide Cestia (Piramide di Caio Cestio)

It is of the best conserved and most characteristic monuments of ancient Rome. This pyramid was built in 12 a.D. during a period of 300 days, and it is 27m high, with the size of the base side 22m. It is covered by marble and stands on a basement of travertine. The Pyramid of Cestius or Piramide Cestia (Piramide di Caio Cestio); also called Pyramid of Gaius Cestius is an ancient pyramid in Rome, Italy, near the Porta San Paolo and the Protestant Cemetery, part of the Aurelian Wall. It stands at a fork between two ancient roads, the Via Ostiensis and another road that ran west to the Tiber along the approximate line of the modern Via della Marmorata.

Pyramid of Gaius Cestius (Piramide di Caio Cestio).jpg
This is a tomb of Caius Cestius, Roman pretor, tribune and a very rich man who could afford himself a sepulchre worthy an Egyptian Pharaoh. On the eastern side of the pyramid is inscribed his will where the term permitting inheritors to receive their part of Cestius' property was participation in construction of this burial monument.

Taking inspiration from the Egyptian pyramids, quite fashionable in Rome during the Augustan age, that of Caio Cestio is the only surviving example of Roman pyramids. The pyramid itself is enclosed in the Aurelian Walls. On one face of the pyramid is an inscription which states that it took 330 days to complete the construction. Measuring some 36 metres in height, 29.6 in width, its current size seems smaller because of the raising of the road on which it stands. The structure is clad in marble from Carrara and, thanks to recent restoration work, the interior can now be visited and where one can see the refined frescoes painted onto white backgrounds.

Before noticing Monte Testaccio (Testaccio Hill), visitors to the neighborhood will notice the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, now forming part of the Aurelian walls. It’s right across the busy piazza from the Piramide Metro stop; it’s somewhat surprising to see such a monumental structure behind the speeding cars and modern urban city. Fortunately, probably because of its relatively distant geographical position from the center of the city and the fact that it was incorporated in the city walls this pyramid survived and was not destroyed for the needs of building materials as numerous other Roman monuments were.

The Aurelian's wall beyond the Piramide di Caio Cestio (Pyramid of Gaius Cestius) now looks neat and clean, having recently undergone a careful restoration. In 2001, the pyramid's entrance and interior underwent restoration. In 2011, further work was announced to clean and restore the pyramid's badly-damaged external walls, through which water seepage has endangered the frescoes within. The €1-million project will be sponsored by Japanese businessman Yuzu Yakhi and supervised by Italy's Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The coat of arms of Nicholas V (1447-55), hanging above the towers, reminds us that similar works had also been commissioned by this pope 500 years ago. This is one of its best preserved parts, with rectangular towers at regular distances, that make a very typical view. Also see: Discover Testaccio, Walk on Monte Testaccio (Testaccio Hill)

Note: Open for guided tours only.

Address:
Pyramid of Cestius or Piramide Cestia (Piramide di Caio Cestio)
Piazzale Ostiense
00154, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Quartiere Ostiense (Roma sud)/ Rione Testaccio (Roma centro)
Pyramid of Cestius or Piramide Cestia (Piramide di Caio Cestio) is Shown By "Map J Zone" As "56"
Transport: Getting MACRO Testaccio Complex and La Pelanda
Hours: Opened on 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, for individuals at 11 am, for groups at 10 am and 12 am.
Entrance: ENTRANCE only with visit or accompanist ENTRANCE RESERVATION REQUIRED individuals € 1,50; groups € 30,00.
VISITS FOR INDIVIDUALS: 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, hours: 11 am, languages: Italian, persons: max 20 (access limited to 5 people at a time), duration: 1 hour, price: € 5,50, booking: required.
VISITS FOR GROUPS: 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, hours: 10 am and 12 am, languages: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, persons: max 20 (access limited to 5 people at a time), duration: 1 hour, price: visit € 100,00, accompanist € 30,00, booking: required.
Information, Booking And Contact: Individuals: +39.06.39967700 Mondays-Fridays 9am-6pm Saturdays 9am-2pm. Groups: +39.06.39967450 Mondays-Fridays 9am-6pm Saturdays 9am-2pm. Schools: +39.06.39967200 Mondays-Fridays 9am-6pm Saturdays 9am-2pm.
Telephone: 0039 06 39967700 (Mon-Fri: 9.00-18.00; Sat noon: 9.00-14.00)
Website: http://archeoroma.beniculturali.it/en

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