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The Museo Della Forma Urbis Is Rome’s Newest Site To Visit

The Museo della Forma Urbis is Rome’s newest museum only steps away from the Colosseum and Circus Maximus and it can easily be a part of your vacation plans.

museo della forma urbis - map of rome
The Map Of Rome

Beginning in January of 2024, Rome opened a new museum and adjoining archaeological park that is in a hidden corner of Rome, but surprisingly close to the Colosseum and Circus Maximus. This new museum, the Museo della Forma Urbis, can easily be added to your travel plans because you will probably be close by, very inexpensive and provides some unique insight into how the ancient Romans mapped out this amazing city.

What Is The New Museum In Rome?

Rome’s newest museum, il Museo della Forma Urbis, has been set up inside the gymnasium of the Italian fascist youth organization, known as: Gioventù Italiana del Littorio. Up until this point, this road and area between the Colosseum and Circus Maximus was largely ignored by tourists, but now it provides an opportunity to experience ancient Rome in a new way. The museum houses the surviving fragments of a large plan of Rome engraved on 150 marble slabs between 203 and 211 AD, originally displayed on the wall of a hall in the Temple of Peace

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Museum Entrance

What Is The Map Known As The Forma Urbis Romae?

The Forma Urbis Romae literally translates from Latin into: Form of the City of Rome, and it is one of the rarest documents that has come down from antiquity and it provides a unique panorama of the urban landscape of ancient Rome. In its entirety, on a surface of approximately 60×42 feet, at least 5 square miles of the city were represented through a collection of thin engravings that depicted the plans of Rome’s buildings.

Where Is The Forma Urbis Romae?

The Forma Urbis Romae is a collection of hundreds of fragments of a large plan of ancient Rome and today can be found in the Museo della Forma Urbis, which is in a former gymnasium of the Gioventù Italiana del Littorio, which is an Italian Fascist youth organization founded in 1937.

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Glass Floor

Although found in the hundreds, the fragments of the Forma Urbis constitute about a tenth of the original plan, with pieces that range from small splinters to slab sectors with entire neighborhoods, houses, porticoes, temples and shops. Only for around 200 fragments has it been possible so far to achieve identification and an ideal placement on modern topography.

What Is The Oldest Roman Map Ever Found?

The oldest map of Rome thought to have survived antiquity is known as the Peutinger Map which dates from around 1200 and may be based on documents from the 4th or 5th century. It has been at this Austrian National Library since 1738. The Forma Urbis Romae is considerably older, but because it is in hundreds of pieces, it isn’t considered to have “survived”.

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Wall Fragments

Why Is The Forma Urbis Romae In Pieces?

Like much of ancient Rome, the map fell into disuse and eventually was broken up and used in other building sites around Rome. Only about 10% of the original surface of the map of Rome has been recovered, which equates to more than 1,000 fragments. This was put into perspective for me when I visited the museum recently and saw so few pieces surrounded by a reproduction of the map on the glass floor of the museum.

What Is The Archaeological Park Of Celio?

Almost in the shadow of the Colosseum, and containing the Museo della Forma Urbis, is the Parco Archeologico del Celio, which preserves important archaeological remains, including that of the temple of Divus Claudius. The marble remains are organized around themes, like: architectural tastes, construction techniques and even a funerary sphere, which is a monument commemorating a deceased person. It is free to enter and to me it is a nice space in which to stroll.

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Ancient Maps

How Can I Visit The Museo Della Forma Urbis?

The museum is located at: Viale di Parco del Celio 20, which is a very short walk from the Colosseum, across from Palatine Hill and around the corner from Circus Maximus. Be careful of the trams and buses because the road is narrow with now much of a shoulder, coming from the Colosseum.

When Is The Museo Della Forma Urbis Open?

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM, with the last entry one hour before closing. The museum is closed every Monday and on Christmas (December 25th)  and May Day (May 1st). The adjoining archaeological park is open every day from 7:00 AM until 5:30 PM in the winter and from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM during the summer.

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Missing Pieces

How Much Are Tickets For The Museo Della Forma Urbis?

If you are a resident of Rome, you should definitely get a MIC museum pass because the cost of the card is less than the price of admission for the museum. For those visiting on vacation, the tickets are €9 with a reduced price of €5.50 if you fit into one of the entitled categories. Access to the archaeological park is free.

More Museums In Rome To Discover

If you enjoyed this description of the Museo della Forma Urbis and you are interested in learning about other amazing museums in Rome, check out these articles as well:

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