Vicolo della Spada di Orlando Rome

The Vicolo della Spada di Orlando is a narrow side street of the Via in Aquiro in central Rome. The name of the alley, “Street of the Sword of Roland”, is linked to an ancient legend.

Vicolo della Spada di Orlando Rome

History and description

The street contains a piece of a column made of the marble known as cipollino. The column is placed against the Collegio Salviati. According to legend, Roland, Charlemagne‘s chief paladin, tried in vain to break his sword Durendal on this piece of marble.

In reality, the column, like the piece of wall that can be seen opposite it, used to be part of the Temple of Matidia. Emperor Hadrian had dedicated this temple to his mother-in-law, who was also the niece of Emperor Trajan. It is likely that Hadrian had the temple built to show the world how strong his bond with Trajan was, since not everyone believed that he had actually been chosen as the Emperor’s successor.

Hadrian was very busy in this part of Rome, as he had a temple built for himself and also had ordered a renovation of the Pantheon.

The Collegio Salviati was a home where orphans found shelter, food and instruction.

There is also a small fountain in the street, which is however not in a very good condition. It was built toward the end of the 16th century and placed in the Via dei Pastini. In 1869 it was moved to its present spot.

Vicolo della Spada di Orlando, Rome

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