Piramide Cestia: The Largest Pyramid Outside Egypt
The Romans treasured their conquests and that of Egypt led them to the construction of Piramide Cestia, a funeral monument dedicated to Caio Cestio Epulone. It is important to note that the Piramide Cestia is the fourth highest pyramid in the ancient Mediterranean world, overreached only by the main pyramids of Giza. A comparison of their shape reveals that the structural resistance of concrete allowed to build the Roman pyramid with an acuter angle in respect to the Egyptian ones; its acuter shape made Piramide Cestia higher using the same amount of building material. Here we offer the history, a description, and directions how to reach Piramide Cestia.
Piramide Cestia: Historical Features
Piramide Cestia (or Caio Cestio’s Pyramid) is a pyramid in the Egyptian style that is in Rome right next to Porta San Paolo and to the Protestant Cemetery and the Rome Metro Piramide stop. It was built around 12 B.C. as a the tomb of Caio Cestio Epulone, a member of Septemviri Epulonum, the important religious college, but otherwise a simple Roman citizen. The particular significance of a pyramid in Rome is due to the fact that at that time the Roman Empire had conquered Egypt, around 30 B.C., and the original culture of this new province excercised a strong influence on the Roman culture. Anyway, Piramide Cestia is unique in its genre among ancient Roman funeral monuments, there wasn't another pyramid inside the Roman walls until the development of modern funeral architecture.
In the III century the pyramid was included inside the Aurelian Walls and in the Middle Ages it was believed to be Remo’s grave. In 1660 some excavations were undertaken, and the bases of two statues dedicated to Cestio were found externally and an opening was excavated inside the pyramid itself, this brought to the discovery that once the sepulchral room was decorated with frescos that were lost over time. A similar pyramid, the so-called “Meta-Romuli”, that in the Middle Ages was considered Romolo’s grave, existed until 1499 in the Borgo Pio District near Piazza San Pietro. It was demolished when the new street to Borgo Nuovo was opened.
Piramide Cestia: Description
The Piramide Cestia is made entirely of the most important Roman invention, that of concrete, with a curtain of bricks and a surfacing of slabs in Carrara white marble; it is 36.40 meters high, and has a square base of about 30 meters, which stands on a Travertine foundation on one side.
Piramide Cestia: How to Get There
The fastest way to arrive to Piramide Cestia is by catching the underground, line B, Piramide stop. By bus: 3, 60, 271, 118.
Piramide Cestia: What to Visit on the Way
If you want to walk across town to visit Rome's pyramid you can include the Circus Maximus, the Bocca della Verità, the Caracalla Baths, and the Colosseum.
Piramide Cestia: Accommodations
For some advice on where you can stay in this area of Rome, you can take a look at our dedicated guides Hotel in the Center of Rome and B&B in Rome.
Piramide Cestia: Where to Eat
You may profit by a wide choice of Restaurants in Rome where you may taste traditional Roman recipes or international cuisine.
Piramide Cestia: Entertainment
Discover some pubs in Rome where you may have a fun and pleasant night after a long day running the rat race, or visiting the city.
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