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The Largo di Torre Argentina Exhibit Is More Up Close

The Largo di Torre Argentina has a new exhibit available for visitors to walk through the history of this site best known for Caesar’s assassination and cats.

Largo di Torre Argentina - New Exhibit

New Exhibit

In 1926, in preparation for some new construction, the area between via del Teatro Argentina, via Florida, via S. Nicola de’ Cesarini and corso Vittorio Emanuele was excavated and one of the most important archaeological complexes in Rome was brought to light.

Inaugurated on April, 21 1929 by Mussolini, the Sacred Area of Largo Argentina (Area Sacra di Largo Argentina) has since then maintained its amazing beauty in the paved square on which four temples stand, known as temples A, B, C and D. Now, visitors can descend from street level and experience this archaeological site up close and personal.

Visiting The Area Sacra Of Largo Di Torre Argentina

On 20 June 2023, following the completion of the works conducted under the direction of the Capitoline Superintendence (Sovrintendenza Capitolina) and made possible thanks to being sponsored by luxury jeweler Bulgari, the Sacred Area was reopened to the public, with a new path on the catwalk which for the first time allows you to appreciate the structures at close range.

Largo di Torre Argentina - English Displays

English Language Displays

There are two exhibition areas on the eastern edge of the area that show a selection of the numerous artifacts found during the demolitions and excavations of the Fascist era. The site is wheelchair accessible through the use of a lifting platform, and while inside, differences in height and jumps in altitude have been eliminated.

The Ruins Of Largo Di Torre Argentina

Largo Argentina is one of the most important historical and archaeological sites in Rome. There are remains of four temples (A, B, C and D) from the days of the Roman Republic as far back as the 4th century BC, there is a sanctuary for our feline friends and the site of a very well known murder more than 2000 years ago.

The name Argentina derives from Argentoratum, an old name for the city currently called Strasbourg, the city of origin of Johannes Burckardt who was a priest and chronicler during the Italian Renaissance. It was discovered during construction work in 1926 and excavated until 1928, with subsequent excavations until 1970. The remains of four temples  are called A, B, C and D because not enough is known about the history of these temples, but the most probable identification of these temples is the following:

  • Temple A is the Temple of Juturna
  • Temple B is the Temple of Fortuna Huiusce Diei
  • Temple C is the Temple of Feronia
  • Temple D is the Temple of the Permarini Lares
Largo di Torre Argentina - Temple B

Temple B Remains

The Life and Death of Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar was born on July 12, 100 BC into a patrician family which claimed descent from Julus supposed descendent of the goddess Venus. He was a Roman general, statesman, and a member of the First Triumvirate, which was an alliance among three prominent politicians (Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus) to bypass the complex set of checks and balances of the constitution of the Roman Republic. The constitution was designed to prevent a man from rising above the rest and creating a monarchy. In order to bypass this they promised to use their respective influence to help each other.

The Murder Of Julius Caesar

The murder of Julius Caesar (Giulio Cesare) is well known as it has been artistically recreated many times on stage, film and in literature. Caesar was 56 years old when he was murdered on  March 15, 44 BC inside the archaeological complex on Largo Argentina, behind temples B and C. On that site is what remains of the Curia of Pompey, where the sessions of the Senate of Rome were held and on that fateful day Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by a group of around twenty Roman senators who considered themselves guardians and defenders of the republican tradition and who were opposed to any form of personal power.

Julius Caesar’s Legacy Today

The legacy of this act continues today as a reminder every March 15th to “Beware the Ides of March”. This warning from a mystic in Shakespeare’s play, and every pop culture reference to the Ides, makes it seem like the day itself is cursed. Another legacy is the word: Caesaricide. This is understood to mean the physical elimination of those who are believed to be against freedom to gain personal power. Over time the definition has broadened to take on the meaning of an extreme attempt to defend the values ​​of civil liberties and to preserve at any cost the values ​​of tradition endangered by a despot.

Largo di Torre Argentina - Cat Sanctuary

Cat Sanctuary

The Torre Di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

There continues to be more excavations and improvements being made to this important site, but one group of residents who will not be disturbed are the cats who call Largo di Torre Argentina their home. The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary (Il Santuario dei Gatti di Torre Argentina), which is also known as Feral Feline Colonies Torre Argentina, and according to the Cats of Rome website:

More than two thousand years have passed since then, but surely something of Caesar’s spirit survives in some of our aristocratic cats who proudly guard the ruins of ancient temples.

In 1929, stray or abandoned cats settled in Largo Argentina because of the protection offered to them by the archaeological sites located below street level. At the same time, a procession of cat lovers, which the Romans called Gattari with a certain condescension, began to take care of cats and bring them food. In addition, a habit of abandoning unwanted cats in Torre Argentina began to spread among the Romans.

The Cat Sanctuary Today

Today, all of the cats in the sanctuary are all sterilized, vaccinated, tested and freed from internal and external parasites. The reduction of feline stray animals is the main purpose of the activity of the colony of Torre Argentina. It wants to be known as a Center for the Promotion of Sterilization and not as a shelter for stray cats in distress. The requests for help are more than can be supported, so they have needed to severely limit the access of new animals only to those cases that do not offer other possibilities of solution. Mutilated, blind or variously handicapped cats are welcomed with priority.

How to visit Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo Argentina is very centrally located in Rome on via di San Nicola De’ Cesarini with a major bus stop, tram line and taxi stand surrounding the piazza. The buses available are the #30, #40, #46, #62, #64, #70, #87, #492 and the #3 tram is also nearby.

Tickets For the Sacred Area Of Largo Argentina

The ticket office and bookshop can be found at the Torre del Papito, piazza dei Calcarari. The tickets cost €5 for non-residents, €4 for residents and free for MIC card holders. The site is open from Tuesday to Sunday with the following hours:

  • From the last Sunday of October to the last Saturday of March, 9:30 to 16:00

  • From the last Sunday in March to the last Saturday in October, 9:30 to 19:00 

  • Last admission one hour before closing

  • Open December 24th and 31st, 9:30 to 14:00

  • Closed on: Mondays, December 25th, January 1st and May 1st

Largo di Torre Argentina - Female Colossus Head

Female Colossus Head

More Nearby Sites Of Interest

When you are done visiting the Sacred Area of Largo di Torre Argentina, you may have some time to check out these other nearby sites:

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