A Gate Without Walls
Porta San Pancrazio stands in splendid isolation of the Janiculum Hill. The gate originated as part of the ancient Aurelian Walls (3rd century CE), but the structure we see today only dates back to the middle of the 19th century.
The gate had been partially rebuilt by the Roman architect Mattia de Rossi (1637-95) as part of the construction of the Mura Gianicolensi (Janiculum wall), a project initiated by Pope Urban VIII (r. 1823-44). It was destroyed by French forces in 1849 during the short-lived Roman Republic. Five years later, the gate was duly rebuilt by another Roman architect, Virginio Vespignani (1808-82), at the behest of Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-78).
Porta San Pancrazio, which sports the coats of arms of both Pius XI and Urban VIII, houses the National Association of Garibaldi Veterans and Survivors as well as the Garibaldi Museum.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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