Move over Egypt, there’s another country where tourists can visit a great pyramid.
A just-announced tour from Roma Experience is offering travelers the unique opportunity to explore a 2,000-year-old pyramid in the Italian city of Rome.
The Great Pyramid in Rome is located in the neighborhood of Testaccio, just beyond the city’s walls.
A tomb for the high-priest Gaius Cestius and built between 18-12 BC (a time when the whole world was enthused by all things Egyptian), the white marble pyramid has attracted many high-profile visitors. In fact, Thomas Hardy once wrote an ode to the pyramid, and Percy Shelley was known to consider it “sublime,” said Roma Tours.
Roma Experience’s Ancient Pyramid single-event tour will take place June 15 and the exclusive visit will bring a group of no more than 20 people.
The tour will also offer the chance to journey to the heart of ancient Rome’s wealth and grandeur with a visit into the pyramid’s sepulchral chamber in a group of no more than five, providing the ultimate, personal experience.
A specialist tour guide will lead the experience, bringing the history of ancient Rome back to life with tales and trivia about the pyramid from ancient times.
“We are incredibly excited to be able to offer this unique, one of a kind opportunity to explore this hidden gem of Rome’s history,” said Davide Bolognesi, marketing manager for Roma Experience.
The pyramid is one of four known to have been built during the Ancient Roman era, but it is the only one to survive today.
Little is known about Gaius Cestius, the man who was once buried here, as the tomb was ransacked long ago, and the land surrounding it has changed dramatically since the pyramid was originally built.
While it can now be found next to a busy traffic intersection, originally the pyramid was built away from the center of the city, surrounded by stately columns and two bronze figures, which can now be found in the Musei Capitolini.
Although based on the famous pyramids in Egypt, the Pyramid of Cestius rises at a much sharper angle than its Egyptian counterparts, likely due to incorrect information from the Egyptians or the Roman use of concrete as a building material, giving them the ability to build more steeply, said Roma Experience.
By the middle ages, myths and stories about the two Roman pyramids circulated, naming them as the tombs of the legendary founders of Rome: Romulus and Remus.
It wasn’t until the 1600s that the actual tomb and inscriptions were discovered, with an inscription on the southeast side of the pyramid reading: “Gaius Cestius Epulo, son of Lucius, of the poblilian district, praetor, tribune of the people, official of the public banquets.”
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