Mausoleum of Augustus

Mausoleo di Augusto

Today burial mound is everything that is left of the most prestigious burial place for the members of imperial families in Rome. After visiting the tomb of Alexander the Great in Alexandria emperor Augustus decided to build something similar for himself and his family. Construction of the mausoleum was begun in 28 BC in the middle of the Campus Martius. The structure that reminded the Etruscan burial grounds was 87 meters in diameter. The mausoleum was circular in plan, consisting of several concentric rings of earth and brick, planted with cypresses on top of the building and capped by a conical roof and a statue of Augustus. Twin pink granite obelisks flanked the arched entryway; one now stands on Piazza dell'Esquilino (behind the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore), another one on Piazza del Quirinale. A corridor ran from the entryway into the heart of the Mausoleum, where there was a chamber with three niches to hold the golden urns enshrining the ashes of the Imperial Family. The first to be buried in the mausoleum was his favourite nephew and heir Marcellus. He was husband of Augustus's daughter Julia (Augustus prohibited to bury Julia and her daughter in the Mausoleum). Marcellus was supposed to take the throne after Augustus’s death but was poisoned by Augustus’s wife, Livia, who wanted her son Tiberius to become the emperor.

After Augustus’s death in the 14 century BC, Livia's son Tiberius after all became the emperor. Tiberius, Claudius and Nerva, as well as other members of the Julius-Claudius families and some noble Roman personalities were buried in this mausoleum. In the Middle Ages the Mausoleum of Augustus was used as the fortress. In the XVI century the mausoleum was turned into the garden. At the beginning of the XIX century a circus was established on the spot of the garden and later it became the place of the large concert hall. Excavations were performed in 1926, and the remains of the structure were restored. It is now difficult to say what came with the urns that had been buried in the mausoleum. They say that the urn that kept Agrippina's ashes was in the Middle Ages used as the measure for grains.

Address: Piazza Augusto Imperatore
Opening hours: closed for reconstruction
How to reach: metro Spagna
Coordinates: 41.906034, 12.476426