In the Via della VII Coorte in the Trastevere district in Rome it is sometimes possible to visit the ruins of an ancient Roman police station called Excubitorium. The Via di Montefiore around the corner has some picturesque medieval houses.
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via della Settima Coorte 9, Rome (tel. +39 06 060608). Tram: 8. Bus: H. Opening hours: You need to call the above number in order to make an appointment. Admission: 4 Euros (concessions 3 Euros). Guided tours are organized by the various “cultural associations”. Their fee is not included in the admission price. At the moment the Excubitorium is closed.
History and description
The Cortes Vigilum, as the police force were called, also served as firemen. The force had been created by emperor Augustus, in the 3rd century AD.
The Trastevere excubitorium, which was called the Excubitorium della VII Coorte dei Vigili, was dug up in the year 1865. Unfortunately the frescoes that used to decorate the walls had already disappeared by that time, as had other works of art that were present there.
Right after the excavations, a house was built around the ruins.
Even after it had been excavated, the Excubitorium was basically left to decay and it was not until 1986 that a real restoration took place.
What is left is a big room with a wall shrine and a fountain. Several corridors go off in different directions.
One of the most interesting facets of the excubitorium is the graffiti that had been written on the walls by bored Roman police offers. Unfortunately most of these musings have also disappeared.
Via di Montefiore
Around the corner, in the Via Montefiore, just above street level, there are small openings for ventilation that allow you to look into the building.
The Via di Montefiore is renowned because it was in a small inn in this street that the Plague of 1656 had its origin. There are still several medieval houses in this street. Its name is more recent, since the street is called after an Anglo-Jewish family.