Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

Colosseum

The Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built and probably the most well-known landmark of Rome. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81-96). The Colosseum could hold, it is e ...
Founded: 72-80 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decora ...
Founded: 315 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Arch of Septimius Severus

The white marble Arch of Septimius Severus at the northwest end of the Roman Forum is a triumphal arch dedicated in AD 203 to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus.  and his two sons, Caracalla and Geta. After the death of Septimius Severus, his sons Caracalla and Geta were initially joint emperors. Caracalla had Geta assassinated in 212; Geta's memorials were destroyed and all images or mentio ...
Founded: 203 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Forum of Caesar

The Forum of Caesar (Foro di Cesare) was built by Julius Caesar near the Forum Romanum in Rome in 46 BC. Caesar decided to construct a forum bearing his name in the northeast section of the Forum Romanum, of which he purchased a very expensive, select amount of parcels of land in that area. The Forum spanned from the Argiletum on the southeast side of the Forum Romanum to the Atrium Libertatis and spanned 160 meters by 75 ...
Founded: 46 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. It was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorat ...
Founded: 8th century BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Trajan's Forum

Trajan"s Forum was the last of the Imperial fora to be constructed in ancient Rome. It was built on the order of the emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia, which ended in 106. The Forum was inaugurated in 112, while Trajan"s Column was erected and then inaugurated in 113. The Forum consisted of a vast portico-lined piazza measuring 300 metres long and 185 metres wide exedrae on two s ...
Founded: 112 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Verona Amphitheatre

The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheatre built in 1st century. It is still in use today and is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. In ancient times, nearly 30,000 people was the housing capacity of the Arena. The building itself was built in AD 30 on a site which was then beyond the city walls. The round façade o ...
Founded: c. 30 AD | Location: Verona, Italy

Basilica of Maxentius

The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine (Basilica di Massenzio) is the largest ancient building in the Roman Forum. Construction began on the northern side of the forum under the emperor Maxentius in 308, and was completed in 312 by Constantine I after his defeat of Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The building rose close to the Temple of Peace, at that time probably neglected, and the Temple of Venus and ...
Founded: 308-312 | Location: Rome, Italy

Arch of Titus

The Arch of Titus was constructed in c. 82 AD by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus"s victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70). The arch has provided the general model for many triumphal arches erected since the 16th century, perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. The Frangipani family turned the arch ...
Founded: 82 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Forum of Augustus

The Forum of Augustus is one of the Imperial forums of Rome, Italy, built by Augustus. It was built in 42 BC to commemorate Augustus' victory at the Battle of Philippi over the assassins of Julius Caesar. The Temple of Mars Ultor stands in the forum. It was inaugurated in 2 BC and it came to function as the focal point of Roman military strategy. For example, Augustus decreed that it should be the meeting place for the ...
Founded: 42 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Herculaneum

Located in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in 79 AD. Its ruins are located in the comune of Ercolano near Naples. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is famous as one of the few ancient cities that can now be seen in much of its original splendour, as well as for having been lost, along with Pompeii, Stabiae, Oplontis and Boscoreale, i ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Ercolano, Italy

Ludus Magnus

The Ludus Magnus is the largest of the gladiatorial arenas in Rome. It was built by the emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) in the valley between the Esquiline and the Caelian hills. The still visible ruins of the monument belong to a second building stage attributed to the emperor Trajan (98-117). The Ludus Magnus was located in this area as it was built for the performances to be held at the Colosseum. To facilitate connection ...
Founded: c. 100 AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Pompeii

Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near modern Naples. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was buried under 4 to 6 m of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Many of the inhabitants were also buried before they could escape. At the time of the eruption, the town may have had some 11,000 inhabitants, and was located in an area where Romans ha ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Pompei, Italy

Terme Achilliane

The 'Achillian' Baths are numbered amongst the principal public bathing establishments of Roman date which survive in Catania, alongside the Terme dell"Indirizzo and the Terme della Rotonda, and constitute a mysterious and highly suggestive place. They are located beneath the Piazza Duomo and may be reached through a narrow underground passage next to the principal façade of the Cathedral. The name derive ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Catania, Italy

Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. From the time of Augustus Imperial palaces were built here and hence it became the etymological origin of the word palace and its cognates in other languages (Italian palazzo, French palais, Ge ...
Founded: 10th century BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Theatre of Marcellus

The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient open-air theatre, built in 13 BC and formally inaugurated in 12 BC by Augustus. At the theatre, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song. Today its ancient edifice in the rione of Sant"Angelo, Rome, once again provides one of the city"s many popular spectacles or tourist sites. The theatre was 111 m in diameter and was the largest and mos ...
Founded: 13 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Greek Theatre of Taormina

Teatro antico di Taormina is an ancient Greek theatre in Taormina, built in the third century BC. The ancient theatre is built for the most part of brick, and is therefore probably of Roman date, though the plan and arrangement are in accordance with those of Greek, rather than Roman, theatres; whence it is supposed that the present structure was rebuilt upon the foundations of an older theatre of the Greek period. With ...
Founded: 3rd century BCE | Location: Taormina, Italy

Mausoleum of Augustus

The Mausoleum of Augustus is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC. The interior of the mausoleum is not open to tourists. The mausoleum was one of the first projects initiated by Augustus in the City of Rome following his victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The mausoleum was circular in plan, consisting of several concentric rings of earth and brick, planted with cypresses on top of the building ...
Founded: 28 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Temple of Portunus

The Temple of Portunus or Temple of Fortuna Virilis ('manly fortune') is one of the best preserved of all Roman temples. Its dedication remains unclear, as ancient sources mention several temples in this area of Rome, without saying enough to make it clear which this is. The temple was originally built in the third or fourth century BC but was rebuilt between 120-80 BC, the rectangular building consists of a tetrastyle p ...
Founded: 120-80 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina is a square that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the remains of Pompey"s Theatre. The name of the square comes from the Torre Argentina, which takes its name from the city of Strasbourg, whose Latin name was Argentoratum. The four temples, originally designated by the letters A, B, C, and D, front onto a paved street, which was reconstructed in the imperial era, after the fire of AD ...
Founded: 300-400 BC | Location: Rome, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.