Area Sacra - Largo Argentina, Rome

29 Reviews

Largo di Torre Argentina
  • Area Sacra dell'Argentina
    Area Sacra dell'Argentina
    by Jefie
  • In the Roman cat sanctuary
    In the Roman cat sanctuary
    by Jefie
  • Area Sacra - Largo Argentina
    by brendareed

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  • stapledskittles's Profile Photo

    History and Purring Paws!

    by stapledskittles Updated Sep 25, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    An amazing site boasting the ruins of 4 temples and what is thought to be the death place of Julius Caesar and a must-see for anyone who's into history, architecture, ruins, archeology, any of it, and located in the historic center only moments from Campo de' Fiori and the Pantheon.

    Now used as a cat shelter run by volunteers on donation, they advocate spay, neuter, release, and this is an absolutely brilliant solution to both Rome's stray cat and stray ruin "problem." Going down here with some cat treats will no doubt make even the saddest day into a purr-filled pleasure and it was always my remedy for stressful work days when I worked nearby.

    This is definitely a uniquely Roman thing not to be missed!

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina, Roma, Italy

    Directions: Historic Center

    Phone: +39 06 68805611

    Website: http://www.romancats.com/index_eng.php

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Roman cats & ruins!

    by Jefie Updated Dec 19, 2014

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    Cats taking shelter in Roman ruins are quite a common sight in Rome, but nowhere is this phenomenon as obvious as in the Area Sacra dell'Argentina :o) In the late 1920s, four Ancient temples were discovered and excavated across the street from the Teatro Argentina (Rome's historic opera house), just off Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. These temples are among the oldest ever found in Rome. For this reason, archeologists can only guess as to the purpose of these temples, which are usually described as Temples A, B, C and D. In the southwest corner of the Area Sacra, a stairway leads visitors down to the cat sanctuary. Cats have lived in the ruins ever since they were excavated, and by the 1990s, their population on this particular site had grown to about 100. A handful of volunteers built a primitive underground shelter, and began feeding, nursering, spaying and neutering them. Today, the Area Sacra's cat population has grown to about 250, and over 3,000 sterilizations have been performed since its creation. Because the sanctuary has never received official permission to be created, it is constantly being threatened with eviction; however, the Roman population fully supports its presence and so far it has managed to remain open. Healthy cats are put up for adoption and I was very tempted to bring one home with me, but I doubt it would have enjoyed the 11-hour plane ride to Canada. Instead, I gave the shelter a small donation to support its good work. There are also several items up for sale, the profits of which are invested in cat food and medicine.

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina

    Directions: Just off Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

    Phone: 39 06 45425240

    Website: http://www.romancats.com/index_eng.php

    Area Sacra dell'Argentina In the Roman cat sanctuary
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  • brendareed's Profile Photo

    Sacra Largo di Torre Argentina

    by brendareed Updated Jun 2, 2014

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    Discovered in the 1920s, this square in the center of an area of Rome that is bustling with traffic is the site of four temples dating back to the Roman Republic. Excavations are still taking place and archeologists disagree on the purpose of some of the structures. Until their purpose can be determined, these excavated buildings are given the highly original names of Temple A, B, C, and D. It is also believed that it was in one of these temples where Julius Caesar was murdered on the Ides of March in 44 BC. Visitors to the area can walk completely around the rectangular piazza and look down into the excavated ruins, which is also home to lots of cats that can be seen laying in the sun.

    Temple A is the structure on the northern end along Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II. This was built in the 3rd century BC and is thought to be the temple of Juturna. It was later rebuilt into a Christian church, as can be seen by the apse and traces of frescoes.

    Temple B is next to Temple A heading in a southerly direction. This round temple has the remains of six columns as well as the original steps and altar. It was built around 100 BC and is believed to have been built to celebrate Quintus Lutatius Catulus’ victory over Cimbri. A massive statue was found here which is now on display in the Capitoline Museum.

    Next in the row of temples is Temple C, which is thought to be the oldest of the four temples here, dating to the 3rd or 4th century BC. Archaeologists believe this was a temple to Feronia, the ancient goddess of fertility. Reconstructed after a fire in 80 AD, the temple ruins still show black and white mosaics inside.

    The last temple and most southern structure on the site is Temple D, which is also the biggest and dates back to the 2nd century BC. Only a portion of this temple is seen since most of the structure is underneath the streets.

    Where was Julius Caesar killed? Part of Pompey’s Theatre is also on this spot, which was where the Curia met on that fateful day. These ruins can be seen behind Temples B and C along the Via di Torre Argentina; a large platform made of stones is visible and this is the murder site.

    There is no admission into the excavation site, but you can walk all the way around the piazza. Much of the ancient structures were damaged by construction and shoddy excavation work, but what is seen today appears in an organized manner. There are a few signs telling you what you are looking at.

    Oh – and the cats are cared for by a volunteer organization that has a shelter next to the site. www.romancats.com.

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina

    Directions: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

    Website: http://www.largoargentina.com/index.html

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Great Caesar's Ghost!

    by goodfish Updated Feb 7, 2014

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    So I mentioned in my "Et Tu, Brute?" review that Julius Caesar wasn't polished off in the Forum? It happened here. Yep, Pompey's Curia - part of a huge theater - was the temporary hangout of the senate at the time, and was located directly behind the ruins of four temples in this square. This little piece of real estate was once part of a large cluster of villas, public buildings, circuses, arenas, baths and temples - including the original Pantheon - known as Campus Martinus: Field of Mars. It was originally a wheat field, pasture and military training ground outside of the Servian Wall that became part of the city around the turn of the 1st millennium, and later enclosed by the Aurelian Walls.

    The temples were uncovered in an urban renewal project in the 1920s, and some shoddy archeological work destroyed some of the clues as to their identities but they range in age from 3rd to 1st-century BC with restoration work occurring after a huge fire in 80 AD. Excavation is still in process and while you can't putter about the ruins, you can see them (free) from surrounding sidewalks, and there are signs in English to tell you what is known about each temple. Numeral 1 in the blue circle on the diagram in photo #5 marks the scene of Caesar's undoing. Oddly, the ruins have also become a shelter for about 250 homeless cats.

    The Curia? Boarded up after Julius' unfortunate demise and later converted to a latrine.

    More info:
    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/beni-culturali/beni-archeologici/area-sacra-di-largo-argentina.html

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina

    Directions: PANTHEON/CAMPO DE' FIORI AREA: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The square is about 3 blocks due south of the Pantheon and in the same general vicinity as Piazza Navona and churches Gesù and Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.

    Website: http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/beni-culturali/beni-archeologici/area-sacra-di-largo-argentina.html

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  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Largo Argentina.

    by IreneMcKay Written Jan 5, 2013

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    Some ancient remains were unearthed at this site. You cannot enter them but can look across them. The remains are interesting and the site is also used as a cat sanctuary. The remains are part of an ancient temple and the Theatre of Pompey. Julis Caesar was murdered on the steps of this theatre.

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina

    Directions: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

    Remains in Largo di Argentina. Remains in Largo di Argentina.
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  • anilpradhanshillong's Profile Photo

    07-The Spot of Caesar’s Death-Largo Argentina

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Sep 3, 2012

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    For five consecutive days, we crossed Largo del Torre Argentina or simply, Largo Argentina, either after alighting from Tram No. 8 or running to board the same tram back home or changing buses here to visit yet another tourist destination. It was only on Day 3 that one finally crossed the road, marvelled at the sunken ruins and snapped a few photos while catching glimpses of the insouciant cats strewn all around. Given the ordinariness of the place, it was difficult to imagine that this was the very place that Julius Caesar muttered, "Et tu, Brute?" before succumbing to the mortal dagger stabs of his assassins.

    Building work carried out in the 1920’s disinterred four Roman Republican-era temples in the square of Largo di Torre Argentina. These temples of Area Sacra di Largo Argentina are now called Temples A, B, C and D. The oldest temple is temple C, built in the early half of the third century BC. You can recognise it as a rectangular structure placed atop a platform with an altar. It may date to the second century BC. The largest temple is the one with the tall columns jutting out. Alongside Via di Torre Argentina, are the ruins of the Curia of Pompey - a senate meeting place - part of the complex which included the Theatre of Pompey. It was here that Julius Caesar was assassinated on 15 March 44 BC.

    The site remains permanently closed but you can see the ruins from the road itself and visualise Pompey's Theatre and Baths which the Roman Senate used for their meetings while the Roman Forum was being built. It was while exiting one of such meetings that Brutus, Cassius and co-conspirators felled Caesar. Unfortunately, there’s no sign around to tell you of such a profound event. Today, Largo del Torre Argentina is home to the largest collection of stray cats in Rome. Pity Caesar didn’t have 9 lives.

    First Written: Sep. 4, 2012

    Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 102, 00186

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  • martin_nl's Profile Photo

    Teatro Argentina

    by martin_nl Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Many famous opera's had their premiere in this theatre, built in 1732 by the Sforza Cesarini family. The facade was placed a century later though. There are still performances in this beautiful building!

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina 56

    Directions: On the square with the Area Sacrum.

    Phone: 06-68804601

    Teatro Argentina
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  • Paisleypaul's Profile Photo

    Ancient Roman History : AD 1926

    by Paisleypaul Updated Jan 24, 2011

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    This square consists of four temples unearthed by excavation works in the 1920s. The four temples date from the late fourth to the late second century BC . The square has been identified as the Porticus Minucia Venus, founded 107 BC as the last of the four temples was finished. It can be viewed from four sides, notably from Corso Vittorio Emanuelle I, just at Largo Argentina , i.e. where you jump the No.8 tram for Trastevere. You are looing down as you walk round perhaps five metres - this was of course street level in ancient Rome, which has been altered naturally over time and by the great fire. The area was destroyed by fire AD80 , a year before Pompeii (AD 79) - no small irony that one of the buildings to have been positively identified was the Statio Aquarum, or water board which would today be responsible for water supply and fire hydrants!

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina

    Directions: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II / Via Di Torre Argentina / Via Florida / Via di San Nicola de Cesarini

    Area Sacro di Largo Argentina Area Sacro di Largo Argentina Area Sacro di Largo Argentina Area Sacro di Largo Argentina
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  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Area Sacra dell'Argentina

    by aukahkay Written Oct 9, 2009

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    Inadvertently unearthed during an excavation project ordered by Benito Mussolini, the fascinating Area Sacra dell’Argentina is one of the best sites to see the remains of Roman architecture from the Republican era.
    The four temples of the Area Sacra dell’Argentina date from the 4th to 2nd centuries B.C. The remains we see now are the result of renovations by emperor Domitianus.

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina

    Directions: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

    Area Sacra dell'Argentina
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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Area Sacra

    by MM212 Updated Apr 12, 2009

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    Discovered by chance in 1926 during a construction project, the Area Sacra is an archeological site containing the remains of four Ancient Roman temples. It is located in Largo di Torre Argentina, now a large square in central Rome, named after the mediaeval tower (Torre Argentina) in the square. Because archeologists are still uncertain to whom the four temples were dedicated, they have designated them with the letters A to D. Although entry into the area is restricted, a walk along the outside railing provides excellent views of the imprint of the temples and some of the standing columns. Roman cats, however, seem to have full access to the site and many have taken refuge among the ruins (see attached photos).

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina

    Directions: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

    Temple A in the foreground Cat among the ruins
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  • monica71's Profile Photo

    Roman Temples and Pompey's Theatre remains

    by monica71 Written Jan 27, 2009

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    Largo di Torre Argentina is another place you should not miss while visiting Rome. It is a very short and pleasant walk (5 min) from The Pantheon.

    You will see the ruins of 4 temples: A, B, C, D. This is how all the audio guides refer to them in order to make it easy for you to identify the ruins. Temple A was built in the 3rd century BC. Temple B, a circular temple with six columns remaining, was built in 101 BC. Temple C is dating back to 4th or 3rd century BC. Some people say that this temple was devoted devoted to Feronia, the goddess of fertility. Temple D dates back to 2nd century BC.

    Look for the remains of some brick walls. This was the exit to Pompey's Theater and the Baths complex, which the Roman Senate was using in the 1st century BC to hold their meetings while the main Senate house in the Forum was being rebuilt.

    The area today is the shelter of 250 cats. Volunteers take care of them and open up the site for visiting every day around 4:30pm (4:00pm in the summer). The entrance is free, but they ask you for donations, so they can keep the shelter running. You can also adopt a cat if you want.
    It was pouring when we were there and it was very cold. This was one of the last sights we planned visiting during particular day and we were soaked to the bones. We spent few minutes here, listening to the audio guide we had with us, but we did not wait for the volunteers to show up and open the sight. I can just imagine how great this experience would have been in a nice weather!

    Address: Largo di Torre Argentina

    Directions: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

    Largo di Torre Argentina Ruins at Largo di Torre More temple ruins at Largo di Torre Getting soaked in front of the site
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  • WanderingFinn's Profile Photo

    The exact place where Ceasar died

    by WanderingFinn Updated Dec 7, 2007

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    An interesting place: to see exactly the place/spot to where Julius Ceasar (100 B.C. - 44 B.C.) was killed! It was almost an unrealistic feeling; Ceasar was so well-known all over the world and still is. It was just amazing to stand there and start imagining...

    Nowadays there is a "nursery" for homeless cats of Rome. There is even a small office where one can visit to take a brochure, donate some coins or join the unity of Friends of Roman Cats (main office located in California, U.S.)

    This is the spot where Ceasar was killed The square where Ceasar was killed (left side)
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  • Lacristina's Profile Photo

    Largo Argentina - Cats, Temples, Julius Caesar

    by Lacristina Updated Mar 29, 2007

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    Until the 1920s, the Area Sacra di Largo Argentina was undiscovered. Now, an entire square is open to us, several meters below the current ground level - the ruins of four temples are exposed and have become home to the city's largest cat sanctuary. Explanatory signage is available on all sides of the site in Italian and English.

    We have Mussolini to thank for preserving this site. Really. If not for him, new buildings (which he was originally planning) would have been erected on the site when it was first excavated. But Mussolini was trying to align himself with Imperial Rome (specifically, Augustus) and so insisted on preserving the site when it was discovered, It turns out that the temples were all pre-Imperial, dating from the 4th to the 2nd century BC, when Rome was, more or less, a Republic. Thus, these temples are among the oldest in Rome. There are also the remains of an ancient public latrine.

    While not much is known about these temples (hence they are labeled merely A, B C and D), they were located next to the Teatro Pompei (Pompey's Theater). Pompey was a Roman general and Julius Caesar's primary political opponent. He built the theater, partly to enhance his standing among the public. Because there were restrictions on the building of public theaters, Pompei combined the theater with a temple. The complex included covered loggias and gardens which extended to very near the Largo Argentina temples.

    Ironically, Julius Caesar was murdered in his rival's monumental complex, quite near Largo Argentina, (not in the Roman Forum as is often assumed.) The Curia, in the Roman Forum, where the Senate usually met, was under reconstruction after a fire.

    Address: Corso Vittorio Emmanuele at Via Torre di Argentina

    Directions: Walk west from Piazza Venezia on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele for less than 10 minutes.

    A cat at home in the sanctuary at Largo Argentina

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  • BorneoGrrl's Profile Photo

    Largo di Torre Argentina, Cat Sanctuary

    by BorneoGrrl Updated Dec 10, 2006

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    Largo di Torre Argentina is a square in Rome that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the remains of Pompey's Theater. It has nothing to do with the South American country but actually comes from a city previously known as Argentoratum. Everytime I walk past this square, I'll stop to look at the many breeds of homeless cats that lounge and cavort about the ruins. This area is also the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter for homeless cats (of which Rome has many).

    Website: http://www.romancats.de/

    Trying to feed a local resident at Largo Argentina The temple ruins at Largo Argentina
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  • jungles's Profile Photo

    Largo di Torre Argentina

    by jungles Updated Jun 11, 2006

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    This archeological site in Rome is relatively unknown to most visitors, and yet it has great historical importance, it's centrally located and easy to find, and it's free! Right in the centre of this busy transport hub you can see the remains of four ancient temples that date back to the Republican era, prior to the Roman Empire. The oldest one was built in the 3rd or possibly 4th century B.C. There is still some debate about the exact identification of the temples, and for now they are simply called Temples A, B, C, and, you guessed it, D.

    Also visible is the remains of the portico of the Theatre of Pompey, which is actually where Julius Caesar was assassinated. Thanks to Shakespeare, most people think Caesar was killed in the Senate building (the Curia) in the Roman Forum, but the Curia had burned down several years prior, and the Senate was temporarily meeting in the theatre until reconstruction was complete. What's left of the portico is on the west side of the excavated area on Via Arenula. Interestingly, the remains of the theatre itself were used as foundations for later buildings, which is evident because the modern street now curves in a semi-circle, imitating the shape of the theatre. To find this street, head south down Via Arenula, then take the first right (Vicolo de' Chiodaroli). From here you can pass through a small archway to reach Campo de' Fiori.

    Largo Argentina is also famous for its cat sanctuary. Cats have been revered in Rome for centuries, possibly starting with Cleopatra's visit here 2,000+ years ago. Volunteer doctors spay and neuter them, and other volunteers help out by feeding the cats (here and around other ruins such as the Forum) or by offering guided tours of the ruins in exchange for a donation to the cat sanctuary. You will see many cats lounging around the ruins here. Check out the website for more information on the sanctuary and on how to volunteer or adopt a cat.

    Directions: It's a 10 min. walk from Piazza Venezia down either Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II (very congested) or Via Florida (a quieter and better option). This is also the beginning of the #8 tram route, which heads across the river to Trastevere and beyond.

    Website: http://www.romancats.com/

    Ruins of Largo Argentina
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