The Aurelian Walls represent one of the most advanced examples of military defense systems of ancient origin. Built between 271 and 275 AD under Emperor Aurelian and Emperor Probus (the name makes reference only to the first emperor), this 19-kilometer line of walls surrounded virtually the entire Rome, with all its seven hills and Campus Martius, to the purpose of defending the capital against the barbarian invasions. Here and there, the walls are pegged out by 19 gates, and it was initially overtopped by almost 400 towers.

Given these walls witnessed most of the history of Rome since the late antiquity to the present day, founding a museum dedicated to them was the natural thing to do. The museum, however, opened no sooner than 1990, though the idea of setting it up occurred decades earlier. It is located in one of the gates of the walls, namely, Porta San Sebatiano, also known as Porta Apia, which stands out as one of the best preserved sections of the ancient walls.

The Walls Museum's documentary materials (explanatory panels, graphic materials and photographs) are showcased in seven rooms. All these exhibits retrace the history of the walls from the antiquity to the modern era, also covering the medieval period. They explain the context (political and military alike) in which the walls were built, the technologies used in building them, as well as the structural modifications the walls underwent in the course of history. In this respect, for instance, room 6 is dedicated to reproducing the history of the walls during the medieval and the modern ages. From room 7, visitors can enter the terrace of the museum and a walkway from where they can admire the sweeping view of Rome.

By visiting the Walls Museum, tourists don’t only get to deepen their knowledge about a part of Rome’s history, but they are also provided with a comprehensive insight into the ancient technologies used to military defense purposes.

Walls Museum (Museo delle Mura)
Via di Porta San Sebastiano, 00100, Rome, Italy
0039 06 70475284 / 0039 06 0608
[email protected]
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday: 9am to 2pm