At the bottom of the picture you get a general view of the sub-aventine plain and the Testaceus mount. At the bottom on the left, the bent of the Tiber that will flow down to the harbour of Ostia. An area densely built with warehouses, Insulæ and mansions, that’s how the sub-aventine plain looks like.

It’s only after going around the Baths of Decius that the Aventine hill begins to go slowly down to the plain. In the centre of the picture you can guess the Vicus Platanonis that links the top of the hill to the plain in a long gentle slope, and the Vicus Amilustri that runs along the west side of the Aventine. Magnificent Domus have been built in this particularly attractive region, due to its spectacular sites. Close to the Baths and to the sacred wood of Stimula a ,stood Flavius Iulius Quartus domus b; and the Pactumei’s Domus c a true palace, which surely had a spectacular view over the whole plain, but had nevertheless to make do with a great section of the Servian wall m which was intact at this point and ran along the edge of the cliff. On the other side of the Platanonis d, a grove of short trees that gave its name to the Vicus, stood close to it another patrician mansion, the Suærii House e.

The southern part of the Sub-Aventine housed as well splendid mansions, among which the most important seemed to be that of Valérius Potitus a, who was probably one the numerous consuls of the Valerii family during the imperial period. The second domus to be noted is the Æmilii House b. The Æmilii, or Gens Æmilia, constitute one of the most important families of the Roman history. Next to the Æmilii House here is the Suetrius Sabrinus’ House, c, consul in 214. The old Servian wall that ran around the Aventine at the time of its building let see under Constantine whole sections still standing or half collapsed, among which the porta Laverna , d (porta Lavernalis) with only one intact gate that still mounts guard on the slope of the Vicus Platanonis. Going across the Vicus Portæ Raudusculanæ, the gate Porta Raudusculana e (Porta Raudusculana), of which the adjacent walls are fairly damaged.

The Sub-Aventine plain was crossed by the Via Ostiensis that linked the banks of the Tiber with the Ostiensis Gate. That was therefore an important way of communication. For the contemporaries, the Via Ostiensis surely seemed humming with activity due to all these nearby warehouses since these certainly generated a permanent traffic. Nevertheless some insulæ (they were everywhere in Rome) stood close to these warehouses, as well as an important Domus, the House and gardens of Aurelius Cotta on the right side of the via Ostiensis. Was he the Consul who in 75 was one of most brilliant speakers of his time according to Cicero (Brutus § 202-210)? We are not sure, but if it was him, he would then be Cæsar’s maternal uncle. Left of the Via Ostiensis and half-way to the Testaceus Mount, two funeral steles lightened the heaviness of the buildings. The pomœrial stele of Claudius and that of Vespasian (which is out of the range of the model).

Close to the great warehouse porticoes and the Tiber stood a hillock called Testaceus, that would have been artificially formed during the Empire by piling up the splinters of amphoras coming from the harbours along the river. This mound appears at the bottom of the picture, in the bend of the Tiber.

The quadrilateral between the Tiber, left, the Testaceus Mount, right, and the Porticus Æmelia at the top of the picture, was practically entirely covered with warehouses (a) in order to store all the goods that arrived through the harbour of Ostia. The best identified warehouses are those of Lollius (c) ( Horrea Lolliana ) and those of Seius (d) ( Horrea Seiana ). Last, some baths (b), as they were so many in Rome, were to be found even in this commercial district.