Arco di Tiradiavoli Rome

The Arco di Tiradiavoli (“Devilthrower’s Arch”) is a gate along the Via Aurelia Antica in Rome, not far from the Porta San Pancrazia. It was constructed in 1612 by order of Pope Paul V Borghese as part of restoration works of the ancient Aqua Traiana Aqueduct.

Arco di Tiradiavoli Rome

Pope Paul had deemed a reconstruction of this aquaduct (hence to be called Aqua Paola) necessary in order to bring water to the rione Trastevere and to the districts around the Vatican. Building the arch was necessary in order to support the aquaduct that passed over the Via Aurelia.

At the upper part of the arch, the Pope’s coat-of-arms can be seen. There is also an inscription telling everybody what a great guy the Pope was for having restored the aqueduct, but unfortunately this inscription is wrong: They thought to have reconstructed the Aqua Alsietina aqueduct, which had been built by Augustus, instead of the Aqua Traiana.

The part of the Via Aurelia where the arch is situated until 1914 used to be called the Via di Tiradiavoli. The ghost of Pope Innocent X‘s sister-in-law, Donna Olimpia Pamphili, when there was a full moon used to race this street, leaving fire in her wake. She would continue all the way to the Ponte Sisto bridge and then throw herself into the river, only to be picked up by devils who then took her to hell.

Another theory that could explain the name is the abundance of relics of Christian martyrs that used to be found at various sites along the Via Aurelia and scared off the devils.

There was also a Marrana di Tiradiavoli (a marrana being a sort of ditch in medieval Rome) that flowed from the Villa Pamphili to the river Tiber. That ditch still exists, but runs underneath the Via di Donna Olimpia.

Arco di Tiradiavoli, Rome

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