The Tomb of Rome’s First Emperor Will Reopen to the Public After 80 Years
According to CNN, the tomb of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, will reopen to the public after a 13-year restoration. The tomb has been closed to the public, with some brief and sporadic openings, for the last 80 years.
Augustus (also known as Octavian) was the nephew of Julius Caesar –– who was not named emperor, per se, but rather "dictator for life" before being assassinated. Augustus was named the city's first emperor in 44 BCE and died in 14 CE. His tomb is a fantastic, large, circular mausoleum that has been largely abandoned and left to decay.
The Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities spent €10 million ($12 million USD) on the first stage of monument restorations, completed in 2019, while Fondazione TIM (part of Telecom Italia) spent an additional €6 million ($7.3 million USD) on the second stage of interior restorations, CNN reported.
The mausoleum is the largest circular tomb of the ancient world, measuring 90 meters (295 feet) in diameter and 45 meters (147 feet) in height. The tomb is mostly made of brick, but was once covered in marble, according to CNN. Over the course of history, the site has served many different functions aside from being the tomb of Augustus, including a medieval fortress, an amphitheater, a bullfighting and jousting ring, and a concert hall.
The Mausoleo di Augusto will be open to the public on March 1, 2021. Due to the ongoing pandemic, tickets (which will be free) between March 1 and April 21 will be for 50-minute timeslots. After April 22, ticketing will be for sale only. There will also be some virtual reality elements available to the public as well.
For more information or to book in advance, visit the Mausoleo di Augusto website.
Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.