The large brick wall to the left of the entrance of the church of Santi Cosma e Damiano
once sported a monumental marble map of ancient Rome, the Forma Urbis Romae.
The wall, now peppered with clamp holes, was once completely veneered with 151 slabs of marble, on which was incised a scaled map (1:240) of the ancient city, with north at the bottom.
The Forma Urbis Romae, also known as the Severan Marble Plan of Rome (c. 203-211 CE), was roughly 18 metres wide and 13 metres high (60 by 43 feet). It was mounted onto the wall of a room in the Templum Pacis, which had been built by the emperor Vespasian (r. 69-79).
Sadly, only 10-15% of the map survives in the form of more than a thousand fragments.
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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