The Aurelian Walls of Ancient Rome are still in remarkably good condition in today’s Rome. It isn’t called the Eternal City for nothing.
Built between 270- 275 AD under Emperor Aurelius, the Aurelian Walls eventually reached 19 kilometers of defensive walls guarded by Roman soldiers who were vigilalant in ensuring the Barbarians were not capable of penetrating the gates to caput mundi.
Until they did in 476 AD – a date etched in every school child’s memory – thus leading to the Fall of the Roman Empire.
When you are in Rome, it’s well worth seeking out the remnants of these impressive walls.
One particular tract of them has just been opened to the public as a small park and playground. So it’s a good place for we modern Barbarians (and kids) to hang out at the gate.
This is a great place to relax, allow the kids to work some of that energy out playing on the swings and slides, and enjoy the views over St John’s Basilica and those impressive walls.
The basilica you can admire (home to the Popes before construction of the Vatican) also explains why the Aurelian walls have been maintained so well.
The unification of Italy happened during the Risorgimento of 1871. Prior to this, Rome was a papal state – and it is thanks to the church that the Aurelian walls were constantly maintained as defensive walls. As you walk around them, look for then papal shields that were added during renovation projects under the various pontificates.
Enjoy your slice of Ancient Rome at this small park at the edge of San Giovanni’s Via Sannio.
Barbarians (and kids) are today welcome at the gate.