Champ de Mars in Rome


The Field of Mars (Piazza in Campo Marzio) is a 250-hectare lowland in the bend of the Tiber River, between the Quirinal, Pincho and the Capitol Hills, intended for gymnastics and military exercises. The center of the field, where the altar to Mars was built, later remained free, was named Campo and even in ancient Rome turned into a war memorial, and the rest of the space was built up.

History of occurrence

The history of the Champ de Mars is closely related to the military glory of Rome. In ancient times, a campus (Campo) was located here - barracks and other structures for the needs of a large army: hospitals, an arsenal, training fields. In the center there was a sculpture of Mars, as if observing the events, the god of war and patron saint of all Ancient Rome, and an altar.

After the expulsion of the Tarquinii (5th century BC), the status of the field changed. Now it was a place of public meetings, military reviews and sports competitions, every year the Equiria was celebrated, accompanied by horse races. On a vast territory, everyone could find entertainment for themselves.

First buildings

Villa Publica

The first public building on the Champ de Mars is Villa Pablica. The building, which arose in 435 BC, in fact, was 300 m of cleared space, enclosed by a small portico. This place was used for regular (every 5 years) gathering of citizens of Rome for political purposes.

During the Punic Wars in the 3rd century BC. numerous battles were fought outside Rome and its environs. However, wealthy commanders returning from campaigns considered it their duty to honor the memory of the dead and give glory to their gods. Thus, Campo Marzio was built up with various temples and tombs.

Circus Flaminius

In 221 BC, the consul Flaminius built a circus in the southern part of Campo Marzio to host horse races and the Plebeian Games. A path was paved to the circus, which connected the gates of del Popolo and the crossing of the Tiber - Via Flaminia. The Circus Flaminia has not survived to this day.

Torre Argentina Square (Largo di Torre Argentina)

During the time of the Republic, a space called Area Sacra (Latin Holy Land) was formed on the territory of the Field of Mars. This name is more than justified, because on a relatively small plot of the capital's land, 4 impressive buildings were built: the Hall of 100 Columns (Hecatostylum), the Baths of Agrippa, the Pompey Theater, the Flaminian Circus.

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Archaeological excavations, which allowed discovering the remains of ancient temples and public institutions, began in the 20th century and continue to this day. The main decoration of historical monuments today are four-legged fluffs. And herself Tore Argentina square better known as the place where cats live.


Temple of Bellona (Templum Bellona)

Temple of Bellona - the patroness of the defenders of the Motherland, was built in 295 BC. Appius Claudius Caecus in honor of the victory of the Romans over the Etruscans. The sanctuary of the warrior goddess was located on the Champ de Mars near the Teatro di Marcello. Political meetings took place in the temple, receptions were held in honor of foreign ambassadors, and at the moment the temple is in ruins.

Temple of Hercules (lat.Ercole Oleario)

The Temple of Hercules was built around 120 BC. on the hilly bank of the Tiber, called at that time the Forum of the Bull (Foro Boario). The round rotunda, completely surrounded by columns, is the oldest marble building in Rome, still pleasing to the eye of modern tourists. There is an assumption that the temple was built with money from an olive oil merchant, as evidenced by the inscription on one of the statues in the sanctuary. Located in the square opposite the Piazza della Bocca della Verita.


In 27 A.D. NS. Marcus Agrippa built the first Pantheon - the temple of all the gods, burned down after half a century, and the most ancient public baths are baths.

The pantheon created by Agrippa was a building surrounded by a portico of huge granite columns of the Corinthian order. The very first version of the great temple did not remain captured even in ancient manuscripts. It is only known that the modern Pantheon is located exactly in the same place in the Circus of Flaminia as its predecessor.

The current Pantheon was rebuilt in 126 AD. Emperor Hadrian. The temple is equipped with several rows of columns, topped with a triangular cross beam. The main part of the temple is hidden under a round dome, in the center of which there is a round window - Oculus (from Latin "Eye").

A unique feature: the height to the Eye and the diameter of the dome have the same value - 43,3 m. There is also an interesting linking of the Oculus to the Day of the Vernal Equinox and to the Birthday of Rome on April 21!

Temple of the Divine Hadrian (lat.Templum Divi Hadriani)

Temple of Hadrian was erected in 145 AD. a descendant of the emperor, Anthony Pius (lat.Antoninus Pius). The structure was executed in a luxurious style: on a rectangular podium, two rows of 13 marble columns were lined, which supported an ornate roof. A wide staircase led to the temple, faced with marble slabs and carved reliefs.

Unfortunately, only 11 columns and part of the wall of the sanctuary have survived to the present day. The remains of the temple became part of the building of the Roman customs office, and later - the stock exchange, built at the end of the 19th century. The address of the Temple of Hadrian: Piazza di Pietra.

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Warlord Lucius Cornelius Sulla (lat.Lucius Cornelius Sulla) in the 2nd century. BC. gave the Champ de Mars popularity among the Roman nobility. The construction of apartment buildings, called insuls, began, and public buildings were erected. The once abandoned territory began to be actively built up with houses, porticos, palaces, theaters.

Theater of Pompey (lat.theatrum Pompeium)

Gnei Pompey 52 BC began the construction of a huge stone theater for 27 thousand spectators, the amphitheater of which had a diameter of 158 meters. A grandiose public institution is the Teatro Pompey, the first theater made of stone. The huge entertainment complex, decorated with fountains and a garden, also included the curia, where the Senate sessions were held.

During the Ides of March 44 BC. the great Guy Julius Caesar (Gaius Iulius Caesar) was killed within the walls of the Senate of the Theater of Pompeii.

Theater of Marcelli (lat.theatrum Marcelli)

Theater of Marcellus is an ancient institution that was intended for open-air performances. The place for the drama theater was chosen by Julius Caesar himself; most of the construction work was carried out by his successor, Emperor Augustus. The theater was named in honor of Augustus' nephew - Marcus Marcellus, who died in his early youth.

The institution, which in its best times could accommodate about 20 thousand spectators, has been well preserved since the times of Ancient Rome. Sometimes small summer concerts take place on the site of the Marcellus Theater.

Imperial buildings

Septa Julia

During the reign of Emperor Augustus, a voting place for the inhabitants of Rome, Saepta Julia, was arranged on the Champ de Mars. The vast structure (300 x 95 m) for a long time served the needs of the Roman rulers, while in the 3rd century. AD did not fall into final decline. However, part of the wall of the Septa Julia can be seen next to the Pantheon.

Portico of Octavia (Latin Porticus Octaviae)

Near the Theater of Marcellus and the Circus of Flaminia are the ruins of the portico, erected in honor of the sister of the Emperor Augustus, Octavia (Octavia Minor). The building was created around 27 BC, but at the dawn of the Christian era, the building, faced with expensive marble, was twice set on fire. In the past, works of art such as Pliny's "Natural History" could be seen within the walls of Octavia's portico. After significant shocks, the building was used as a fish market and then fell into disrepair.

Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis)

In 13 BC. The Roman Senate presented a gift to Emperor Augustus - the Altar of Peace monument, named after the goddess of peace Pax.

A huge open altar, exquisitely decorated with carved slabs, was erected on the Champ de Mars in the western part of the Flaminia road. For a long time, the monument, erected in honor of the imperial victories, was considered lost, until in the 16th century some of its parts were not brought to light.

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In the 19th century, in-depth excavations made it possible to restore most of the monument. It was only in 1938 that the sacred Altar of Peace was rebuilt under the leadership of Benito Mussolini opposite the Mausoleum of Augustus. Now a structure has been erected over the ancient monument, which protects it from the vicissitudes of nature.

Mausoleum of August (Mausoleo di Augusto)

The Mausoleum of Augustus is a tomb built by the emperor in 28 BC. The tomb consists of several concentric rings of brick and earth stacked on top of each other. In the past, the roof of the mausoleum was crowned with an equestrian statue of Augustus, which has not survived.

The tomb contained the remains of the emperor's relatives and heirs: sister, son-in-law, adopted son, August himself, his wife Livia and many others.

The Mausoleum of Augustus was repeatedly plundered, restoration work was carried out only under Mussolini. However, at the moment there is no access inside the monument, tourists have to admire its decadent beauty from the outside. Currently, the monument is located on the banks of the Tiber near the Augusto Imperatore Square (Piazza Augusto Imperatore).

Domiziano Stadium

After a fire in 64 AD, Emperor Domitian had to rebuild many of the public places in Rome. In particular, the current Navona square (Piazza Navona), was once a stadium on the Champ de Mars, where all the significant sports and social events of the capital took place.

Colonna di Marco Aurelio

The 30-meter column was erected at the end of the Marcomanian War (166-180 AD) between Rome and the Germanic tribes. The marble pillar is richly decorated with battle scenes in which the valor of the emperor and military leader Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, as well as his army, is glorified.

In the original, a statue of the emperor was installed at the top of the column, which was replaced in the Middle Ages by the sculpture of the Apostle Paul. The pillar is well preserved and can be viewed in the Piazza Colonna.

Modern days

The modern Champs de Mars is part of the historic center, one of 22 districts in Rome, which has preserved its historical planning and buildings. In the center is the Field of Mars, an undeveloped square, which still keeps the memory of the military glory of the ancestors.

Subsequently, Campo Marzio changed his appearance many times, but he could not return the former brilliance. Having turned into an ordinary residential area in Rome, the Champ de Mars was built up with apartment buildings, which inevitably led to the destruction of ancient monuments. The ancient temples were replaced by the palaces of wealthy citizens: Borghese, Firenze, Ruspoli and many others.

Getting there

You can get to Piazza in Campo Marzio from the nearest metro station Barberini, moving along Via del Tritone.

If you are already in the Campo Marzio urban area, you can walk to the desired place from the Pantheon, from Piazza Venecia, from Torre Argentina, and many other attractions.