Over the last few weeks, I’ve started to see crowds of tourists around Rome again. It started with a line at the Bocca della Verità one afternoon. Then I noticed a group of people waiting to peek through the keyhole on the Aventine hill on a morning walk. Coupled with the outdoor mask mandate ending and the curfew being lifted, signs of post-pandemic life seem to be around every corner.
With travel finally becoming a possibility again, I wanted to write about the new sights to see in Rome in 2021 for curious travelers or perhaps those of you who have visited the Eternal City before and want to see something different.
This list will be updated whenever I hear about something opening up! For now, check out these six new sights to see in Rome in 2021.
Table of Contents
New sights to see in Rome in 2021
The Mausoleum of Augustus
Piazza Augusto Imperatore – Website
First on our list of new sights to see in Rome is the Mausoleum of Augustus. It took nearly 5 years and €10 million to restore the structure, which is located just south of Piazza del Popolo and adjacent to the Ara Paris museum. Prior to its restoration, the monument had been closed for 14 years.
The Mausoleum of Augustus is the largest circular tomb from the ancient world. In addition to being the resting place of the emperor Augustus, the Mausoleum also held the ashes of his wife Livia, the emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nerva, as well as those of Germanicus, a well-known general.
Like many ancient structures in Rome, the Mausoleum was repurposed over the years, and was used as a fortress, a garden, a theater, and in the early 1900s, a concert hall.
The outer walls encircle a series of inner chambers that held the aforementioned remains. Visitors walk through rooms that contain information about the history of the Mausoleum and items that were excavated during the renovations.
The Mausoleum reopened in March of 2021. Tickets are released periodically and sell out quickly. Book yours here now.
The Hypogea of the Colosseum
Piazza del Colosseo
For 200 years, it hasn’t been possible to visit the underground maze of corridors, chambers and cages that held the prisoners, gladiators and animals who fought to the death in front of crowds of ancient Romans, but all that changed in June 2021.
Along with your visit to the Colosseum, you can now book a ticket that will allow you to explore the underground hypogea that led men, women and beasts to their death on the stage above.
Hurry up and get your tickets now! Make sure to choose the underground option if you want to see the hypogea.
Read more here.
The Domus Aurea
Via della Domus Aurea
This isn’t exactly a new sight to see in Rome in 2021, but it has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic and reopened in the summer.
Known in English as Nero’s Golden Palace, the Domus Aurea was built after the fire of 64 AD, which ravaged a large area of the city center, including the emperor’s residence on the Palatine Hill. Nero built the Domus Aurea as a replacement.
The sprawling building complex was punctuated with gardens, trees, vineyards, and even an artificial pond. The grandiosity carried over into the internal spaces too: Nero displayed his flashy taste with decorations of marble, gold and precious stones.
During the Renaissance, artists including Ghirlandaio, Pinturicchio and Raphael visited the Domus Aurea and began to copy the style of paintings they found there. Mistaking the rooms for grottoes, the artists referred to paintings in this style as grottesche, or, in English, grotesques, a term that is still used today to describe these Renaissance imitations and adaptations of Roman wall art. To kick off its reopening, a special, multi-media exhibition called Raphael and the Domus Aurea is being held.
Buy your tickets here.
The Torlonia Marbles
Villa Caffarelli at the Capitoline Museums – Piazza del Campidoglio 1
This exhibition displays 90 works from the private Torlonia collection, which consists of 620 Greek and Roman sculptures. The collection has been largely kept from public view for the last 70 years.
This show was very highly anticipated, and it’s very luckily been extended until January of 2022! Book here.
The Arch of Janus
Via del Velabro 5
Opening up as 2021 comes to a close is the Arch of Janus, located just a short walk from the Mouth of Truth.
The arch is found at the northeastern edge of the Forum Boarium, which housed a market in ancient Rome. Built in the second half of the fourth century, it is the only remaining quadrifons arch in Rome, with a unique square structure and an arch on all sides. The purpose and even the origin of the name of the Arch of Janus are contested; however, scholars are quite sure that its forty-eight niches once housed statues, a small number of which remain visible today. The arch has been closed to the public since 1993, when a car bomb exploded in front of the nearby church of San Giorgio in Velabro.
You can currently visit the Arch of Janus for free every Saturday from 10am-2pm. It will be open for longer hours in spring 2022.
Via dei Cerchi 87
Named for the extremely popular fermented fish-gut sauce that Romans and other ancient peoples couldn’t get enough of, Garum houses a collection of gastronomic artifacts and books for the foodies among us.
Visits by appointment only. Contact Garum to arrange yours here.
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