Mirabilia Urbis: Rome Walking Tours

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The Roman Homes on the Celian Hill, under the Church of Paul and John

The Celian Hill is not on every tourist's itinerary... Spangled with Church properties and a large park, the Hill still retains some of its sleepy, Medieval flavor.  During ancient Roman days, however, this was a bustling neighborhood, full of middle-class and proletariat housing, packed to the gills with stores, whose merchants stacked their goods on the sidewalks in front of their stores. Strolling along the ancient Clivus Scaurus or Scaurus' Slope, we'll imagine the sound of wagon wheels creaking under their loads, the shouts of children playing amid yelping stray dogs, delivery boys, and foreigners asking for directions or good lodgings.

 

 

Here we'll find a large insula or apartment block and a neighboring domus or aristocratic home. They create an interesting study in real-estate and ancient Roman town planning.  The insula, or apartment, underwent several transitions, which we will follow carefully...  After serving Rome's working class for over a century, the apartment block was bought by a wealthy Roman. In fact, towards the end of the Empire, several economic downturns effected the real-estate market.  An aristocrat bought the entire multi-family apartment and renovated it to his satisfaction. This means that the insula retains its proletariat blue-print, while it dons some expensive interior decorating. Adding to the insula’s fame is the subject of its interior decoration: many of its frescoes show symbols and themes from different ancient religions.

And just to spice things up, the Catholic Church claims that in this apartment, two Christians by the name of John and Paul were martyred. So the insula is the site of a murder mystery which we will explore in greater depth!

 

 

The archeological area is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Tickets are euro 6 / person.

It pairs up with other underground Rome attractions as well as different archeological areas that explore the idea of housing (e.g. the Palatine Hill).