Arco di Gallieno Rome
History and description
The arch was not constructed especially for the emperor, however, since it used to simply be a gate in the former Mure Serviane (Servian Walls) and was called Porta Esquilina. The Servian Walls were the first defensive walls around Rome.
The gate originally consisted of three arches, but the two outer ones were demolished during the Middle Ages in order to create space for normal buildings.
Earlier, the gate had been restored at the behest of Emperor Augustus.
Emperor Gallienus had been assassinated by his own officers in the year 268. On the cornice is an inscription dedicated to the emperor and his wife. However, this inscription imposed by Marco Aurelio Vittore is not the original one. The latter used to be sculpted on the upper part of the arch and dated from the time of Augustus.
To the left of the inside of the gate, you can still see traces of there having been a smaller entrance.
Originally, both the Via Labicana and the Via Prenestina began at the Arch of Gallienus. The Via Prenestina now starts at the Porta Maggiore, while the Via Labicana is now the name of another street.
From the 13th century until the year 1825, the keys of the Porta Salcicchia in Viterbo were attached to the Arco di Gallieno. In this way, this city acknowledged to be subject to Rome.
In the mid-15th century, Pope Nicholas V authorised food vendors at the gate to sell their wares to pilgrims on their way to the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica.
The Santi Vito e Modesto Church built against the arch preserves a stone used as a remedy for rabies in the Middle Ages.
Address and public transport
The address of the Arco di Gallieno is Via di San Vito, snc – 00185 Rome. District: Esquilino. Public transport: The nearest bus stop is Carlo Alberto (lijn 71, 360, 649). Metro: Vittorio Emanuele (line A).