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Rome, Italy - the Metella Tomb - visit with the Rome archaeological pass

The Tomb of Cecilia Metella is one of the nine Rome museums / archaeological sites that may be visited using the Rome Archaeological pass. Below is some background information.

The Tomb of Cecilia Metella was built between 50BC and 40BC for the daughter-in-law of Crassus, the richest man in Rome. Nothing is now known about Cecilia, and Lord Byron, inspired by the romance of the site, was to fantasise about this unknown woman in his epic Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

Crassus had a dramatic career and one with a grisly end. He got his wealth from the slave trade, silver mines and property, and was the Roman general who crushed the Spartacus slave rebellion. Elected Consul with Pompey in 70BC, he entertained the Roman people at a banquet with 10,000 tables and distributed enough corn to last each family for three months.

In 60BC he formed the First Triumvirate with Pompey and Julius Caesar, which ended democracy in Rome, and in 55BC was given control of Syria … a source of limitless wealth. But the plutocrat general was to meet an ironic end. Captured by the Parthian leader, he was killed by having molten gold poured down his throat.

We know that Crassus’s eldest son was a successful (and thus very rich) general, inheriting vast wealth and marrying Cecilia Metella, the daughter of the Consul Creticus. She may have died young but the irony is that while Cecilia’s story may be lost, her tomb is the finest surviving Roman monument on the Appian Way.

Unlike the very ruined ruins of the Forum, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella is recognizably a building (though some details are later editions). The marble facing is near-intact and there are elegant friezes topped by garlands and the heads of oxen. The crenellations were added in the Middle Ages when the tomb became a fortified tollbooth. It was a gift from Pope Boniface VIII to his family (the Caetani) in 1302, allowing them to charge tolls on the heavy traffic between Rome and the independent state of Naples.

The Caetani’s coat of arms still hangs here, and they added pinnacles and built a palace. Now the fortified tomb became a hamlet, including the church of San Nicola di Bari). The fortress was attacked and damaged a number of times and eventually became a refuge for brigands.

A few centuries on and Lord Byron was inspired by his visits to Classical Rome, writing Cecilia a central role in his poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. He ponders her destiny while describing this ‘Stern round tower of other days’. That tireless journalist Charles Dickens visited the site in 1845, writing ‘Here was Rome indeed at last; and such a Rome as no one can imagine in its full and awful grandeur’. And that great British proto-Impressionist JMW Turner painted the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, Rome in 1830. Today it hangs in London’s Tate Britain museum.

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Coronavirus in Italy


Please note that in order to use your tickets you MUST be able to provide one of the following:

  • - Covid19 Green Pass certification (in digital or paper format) able to attest - together with a valid identity document - that they have received at least one dose of one of the vaccines authorized by the EMA or AIFA (Comirnaty by Pfizer-BioNtech, Vaxzevria by Astrazeneca, Janssen by Johnson & Johnson and Moderna)
  • Exemptions: COVID-19 Green Certification is not required for children excluded by age from the vaccination campaign (under 12 years of age) and those exempt on the basis of appropriate medical certification.
  • - Visitors from Israel, Canada, Japan and the United States - Vaccination certificates issued by the health authorities of these countries (complying with EU Recommendation no. 2021/912 of 20 May 2021) will also be accepted, but must include the identifying data of the person and data regarding the type of vaccine and date(s) of administration. Please note that certificates will be accepted if they are in Italian, English, French or Spanish. If the certificate is not issued in bilingual form and not in one of the four languages indicated in the Order of the Minister of Health of 18 June 2021, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

This documentation must be presented at the entrance when the body temperature is checked.

Security queues to check the Green Pass requirements may be a bit long so do allow plenty of time to ensure you do not miss your entrance slot. Have your Green Pass and ID ready for viewing. Whilst they may seem long, queues do move fast so please be patient. Thank you for your cooperation.

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not have a Green Pass and a valid identity document, you will not be able to access and your ticket will not be refunded. For further information www.dgc.gov.it

Due to Coronavirus many venues and events are applying strict entry conditions. These will vary by venue but common examples are:

  • You must wear a compliant CE mask (Ordinanza RT n.48) which covers both mouth and nose.
  • Disposable single-use gloves must be worn at all times.
  • Hands (or gloves) must be cleaned with a disinfectant gel on entry.
  • Your temperature (which will be measured on entry) must not be above 37.5°C.
  • Visitors must maintain a social distance of 1.8m at all times.
  • There may be a maximum visitor limit in place - in some cases this may lead to delays

Any conditions may be changed without notice as Italian regulations are updated.

If you are denied entrance because of failure to meet entry conditions, no refunds will be available.