The Porta di San Sebastiano was formerly called the Porta Appia and is the biggest gate in the Aurelian Walls in Rome. Nowadays the towers flanking the gate host a museum dedicated to the history of Rome’s city walls, called the Museo delle Mura.
Porta San Sebastiano Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via di Porta San Sebastiano, 18 – Rome. Phone: +39 060608 (information number of the city of Rome). Opening hours: Tuesday till Sunday from 09.00 till 14.00. Closed: Mondays, January 1, May 1. December 25. Admission: Free, but note that during the Covid-19 crisis a reservation is required.
History and description
The Aurelian Wall for a long time formed the only defence against the Germanic tribes attacking the city. The Porta San Sebastiano was its most impressive gate and is still considered one of the symbols of Rome’s construction techniques.
The Porta San Sebastiano used to be called Porta Appia, because the street of that name used to run through it.
It had two double-arched gateways with a courtyard in the middle. Later, these gateways were enlarged and one floor was added. Then, around the turn of the 4th century, the entrances were reduced to one. At the same time, the bottom part of the towers was covered with marble.
On the right gate you can see an engraving depicting the archangel Gabriel.
There is also an inscription commemorating the victory in 1327 against the troops of Robert d’Anjou, aka Robert the Wise, King of Naples, near the Porta San Sebastiano.
In 1942 the structure was the residence of the Fascist Party Secretary Ettore Muti.
Museum of the Walls (Museo delle Mura)
The Porta San Sebastiano is well preserved. Inside the museum you can see the room from where the gate was opened and closed and you can climb the tower for a beautiful view over the Via Appia Antica. You can also take a walk over part of the rampart on the western side.
The ruins of the Arch of Drusus are still visible near the entrance to the museum. In the early 3rd century this arch was used as a conduit for the aqueduct supplying the Terme di Caracalla with water.