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The Via Flaminia was a great Roman road, built in 200 B.C., which joined Rome with the Adriatic sea. The Via Flaminia was the main entrance to the City of Rome from the north. In the foreground the Aurelian Wall and the Porta Flaminia. The hill on the left is the Pincius.

After they had gone through the Porta Flaminia, the visitors ware attracted on the left by Nero’s tomb ( sepulcrum Neronis ), huge construction that should have contained the emperor’s remains. Quite close to the tomb rise the gardens of Nero’s father’s side family, the Domitii gardens with their huge structures. The Gardens covered the foothill of the Pincius. Alongside the Via Flaminia, numerous tombs of various shapes, among which a pyramidal one.

The Arch of Vespasian on the Via Lata. Maybe erected by Vespasian, this arch was rebuilt under the Antonines. Called “Arch of Portugal”, it was destroyed in 1662 by the pope Alexander VII. It’s also often identified as the “Arch of Hadrian”.

Immediately after having passed under the Arch of Hadrian, one of the first important monuments met on the left side, is the temple of the Sun that may have been erected in 275 by the Emperor Aurelian after his victory over queen Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra. Its two semicircular ends make it a quite peculiar temple. “the god of the Sun of Emesis left his sanctuary to give Rome the victory” Aurelian would have declared. With Baal, oriental god purified by the Greek culture, Aurelian created the god of the Romans. This was the only attempt of pagan monotheism. This temple was famous for its richness and its treasures. A huge portico, the portico of the Sun, was linked to the temple.

A closer view of the temple of the Sun. On the left side, the great portico.

On the other side of the Via Flaminia,opposite to the temple of the Sun, we find the Altar of Augustus’s Peace. It can be recognized in the centre of the picture, between the two porticoes. Inaugurated in 9 BC, the Ara Pacis Augustæ was built to commemorate the victories of Augustus in Gaul and Spain. This rectangular monument was representative of the art of the time of Augustus. Today the Ara Pacis has been moved quite close to the Mausoleum of Augustus, and to visit it is an unforgettable experience.

The Altar of Augustus’s Peace under another angle. The solar Clock in the foreground and the Via Flaminia at the top of the picture.

The great buildings, seen opposite to the Column of Marcus-Aurelius could be Insulæ.

The Arch of Claudius was erected in 52 to celebrate the victory of the Emperor Claudius over the Britons. The Aqua Virgo crosses the Via Lata through the Arch of Claudius. Just before the temple of Isis, another arch, the Virginis Arch, was as well crossed by the aqueduct.

The Arcus Novus (of Diocletian). This arch was erected to mark twenty years of reign of the Emperor. It was destroyed only in 1491.

The important building in the centre of the picture, on the Via Lata, could be the Villa Publica. Before Augustus, it was a place for election meetings. This complex would have been later used to receive dignitaries who came from outside Rome. At the top of the picture we see the Arx citadel.