Links to this page can be found in Book 1.
At the end of his book of etchings which showed the gates of Rome, Giuseppe Vasi added a sketch of the walls of Rome and of some other landmarks of the city.
Map with clickable dots
Authors differ very much in opinion with respect to the number of inhabitants which Rome contained at the period when it was most populous. Some accounts make them seven millions, and others a still greater number. These seem all to be incredible exaggerations. It is not probable, that what is properly called the city of Rome, ever extended beyond the wall built by Belisarius (Aurelian). This wall has been frequently repaired since, and is still standing; it is about thirteen or fourteen miles in circuit, which is nearly the size that Rome was of, according to Pliny, in the days of Vespasian. Those who assert, that the number of inhabitants in ancient Rome, when it was most populous, could not exceed a million, exclusive of slaves, are thought moderate in their calculation; but when we consider that the (..) Campus Martius, which is the best built part of modern Rome, was a field, without a house upon it, anciently; and that the rising ground, where St. Peter's church and the Vatican stand, was no part of old Rome; it will be difficult to conceive that ever Rome could boast a million of inhabitants.
John Moore - A View of Society and Manners in Italy - 1781
This circuit will bring into view specimens of every construction from the days of Servius Tullius down to the present; for, to save expense, Aurelian took into his walls whatever he found standing in their line; and they now include some remains of the Tullian wall, the wall of the Praetorian barracks, the facing of a bank, aqueducts, sepulchral monuments, a menagery, an amphitheatre, a pyramid. Thus do they exhibit the uncemented blocks of the Etruscan style, the reticular work of the republic, the travertine preferred by the first emperors, the alternate tufo and brick employed by their successors, and that poverty of materials which marks the declining empire. (..) Since the first dreadful breach made by Totila, the walls have been often and variously repaired; sometimes by a case of brick-work filled up with shattered marbles, rubble, shard, and mortar; in some parts the cementitious work is unfaced: here you find stone and tufo mixt in the "opus incertum" there, tufo alone laid in the Saracenic manner: the latter repairs bear the brick refinement of modern fortification.
Joseph Forsyth - Remarks on Antiquities, Arts, and Letters in Italy in 1802-1803
Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BC by Romulus on the Palatine Hill. The initial settlement over time expanded on the other six hills near the Palatine. Rome had walls surrounding the seven hills (called Servian Walls), but with the expansion of the Roman Empire they were not maintained. In 275 AD Emperor Aurelian built new walls which included also a section of the city on the right bank of the river (Trastevere).
The walls around the Vatican were initially built in the IXth century and they were almost entirely rebuilt in the second half of the XVIth century by Pope Paul III and by Pope Pius IV; they included Castel Sant'Angelo. In the first half of the XVIIth century Pope Urban VIII built walls on Monte Gianicolo and redesigned the walls of Aurelian in Trastevere.
The image shown in the background of this page is based on a photo of the walls between Porta S. Sebastiano and Porta S. Paolo.
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