Porta Pia Rome Italy: History, Maps & Best Time to Visit
The gorgeous Porta Pia gate is located within the Aurelian Walls, and marks the beginning of the Via Nomentana.
Located on the northern edge of the ancient part of the city, the design of the gate is striking, and it also serves a functional purpose.
But there is more – Not only is the gate pretty nice to look at, it also plays an important part in the history of Rome and the end of Papal Rule in the capital (more on that later).
- 1 The History Of Porta Pia Rome Italy
- 2 Porta Pia Design and Architecture
- 3 Who Painted Porta Pia?
- 4 Do You Need a Ticket for Porta Pia?
- 5 Best Time to Visit: Porta Pia Opening Hours
- 6 Closer Look at Porta Pia Rome Map
- 7 Location and How to Get There
- 8 Where to Eat Nearby: Our Favorite Place
- 9 3 Closest Hotels You Can Book Today
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
- 11 Conclusion
The History Of Porta Pia Rome Italy
In the mid 1500s, Michelangelo designed a beautiful gate at the request of Pope Pius IV. It was needed to replace the old Porta Nomentana, which was pretty much falling apart.
Unfortunately, he never got to see it being built, because he died before its construction. It was completed only in 1565. Much later, in 1869, the external facing facade – the one that faces away from the city – was finished off by classical architect Vespignani .
At this time, the simple gate was upgraded to a portal. It was not long after that – in 1870 – that Italian troops broke through the walls beside the gate and took control of the city, marking the beginning of the Italian state as we know it today.
Porta Pia Design and Architecture
Michaelango apparently presented three separate designs to Pope Pius, who selected the least expensive option.
This is all rumor of course, because the original drawings of the Porta Pia plan have been lost to history. There are however some light sketches that still remain for comparison.
The Porta Pia two facades were designed to sit just slightly back from the walls, to give it a more striking effect. The entrance it created to the city was slightly plainer on the external wall, and the Porta Pia front faces into the city.
Shortly after it was opened an additional second arch needed to be created to help with the traffic flow, especially as the nearby Porta Nomentana had by then been closed.
An inscription above the arch names commemorates Pius for having commissioned the gate. His coat of arms can be seen prominently as well.
Who Painted Porta Pia?
The Porta Pia Michelangelo design brought life to part of the walls.
But Michelangelo and the Porta Pia story have been captured in paintings since its conception. One of the most prominent depicts the story of the breach of the walls.
The Breach Of Porta Pia painting by Carlo Ademollo. You can check out this striking painting here online.
Do You Need a Ticket for Porta Pia?
No, you can check out the Porta Pia completely free of charge, no ticket required..
Best Time to Visit: Porta Pia Opening Hours
Of course, since the Porta Pia needs no ticket, it is not locked at night! You can visit at any time during your trip to Rome.
Closer Look at Porta Pia Rome Map
Get your bearings for the location of the Porta Pia on this map. You’ll easily see the location at the outer edge of the ancient city.
Location and How to Get There
The Porta Pia is located at the edge of the old Rome, to the north of the city.
Bus Line 82 and 90 can take you there in minutes to the Porta Pia stop. The gate is also accessible via foot – a ten minute walk from the Gallerie Borghese and 15 from Termini station.
Take a look at the Porta Pia Rome Map and you will see how easy it is.
Where to Eat Nearby: Our Favorite Place
Through the other side of the Porta Pia, exiting the city, you will find the vibrant Piazza Fiume area. This is where the locals head to eat and shop.
So if you are fed up with the tourist side of Rome it is worth taking a look here. There are plenty of local restaurants, prices are reasonable and you'll see a side of Rome that many do not experience.
Tips – Check out our favorite Osteria Dell’Arco for local food with a modern twist. Try the pasta of course!
3 Closest Hotels You Can Book Today
There is a wide choice of hotels in the area around the Porta Pia and the Borghese Galleries.
Check out the elegant Hotel Deseo Home, with direct views of the Porta Pia and stunning design rooms including breakfast for just €65 a night for 2 people.
The nearby Guardian Hotel offers delicious breakfast in a beautiful building for around €100 a night.
Finally, c-hotels Fiume Rome offers comfortable rooms and a roof terrace from which you can enjoy views of the city.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who built the Porta Pia in Rome?
The Porta Pia was commissioned by Pope Pius IV and designed by Michelangelo. It was designed to replace an older gate nearby, known as the Porta Nomentana.
When was Porta Pia in Rome built?
Construction was completed on the Porta Pia Gate in 1565, when Mchalengelo had already passed away. Later additions included an amendment to the gate and a new arch.
The Porta Pia plays an important part in the history of the making of modern day Rome. It is definitely worth a look if you are in the area.
Pair your trip to the gate with an afternoon at the Villa Borghese and the Borghese Galleries. Here you can see a wide range of art, sculptures and other important pieces that tell the story of Rome. You will need to book tickets in advance to the Borghese Galleries.
Plan your trip today with a complete overview of just what you can see at this important museum by using our detailed guide to the Villa Borghese.