durata: 2 hours
Pyramid of Cestius and Free Entrance to the “Cimitero degli Inglesi”
In first century Rome there was a craze for all things Egyptian. The country had recently been conquered by Emperor Augustus, who had defeated Cleopatra, the last Queen of the Ptolemy dynasty. During this period, everybody in Rome wanted Egyptian-style objects in their houses or decorations on their clothes. The Egyptian influence was everywhere, to the point that the Roman magistrate, Gaius Cestius, ordered his tomb to be built in the form of a pyramid, with completion in just 330 days!
In line with Egyptian custom, the burial chamber (measuring about 23 m²) was sealed up at the time of interment, and remained in this state until mediaeval times. Even those who have never visited Egypt have a chance to experience its history and culture by visiting this sight. The Pyramid of Cestius stands guard over the neighbouring Protestant Cemetery, where many famous poets and artists were laid to rest. Many of those buried here were not Christians, and those of the Jewish, Protestant and Orthodox faiths lie side by side for eternity in a garden of wonders which seems quite unlike a cemetery. On entering its gates, you are transported back to another world; scattered in various places are the headstones of some great writers from the past, together with stone angels or figures which almost seem to speak to us. You will read names such as John Keats, Percy Shelley, Antonio Gramsci, Hendrik Christian Andersen, Carlo Emilio Gadda, and many other famous personages now at rest forever.