Pyramid of Cestius, Rome, Holiday and Trips
Italy 500BC-400AD-Ancient times Europe

Pyramid of Cestius – famous Egyptian Symbol from Ancient Rome

June 9, 2018
Age2020 years
TypeAncient temple
Year12 BC
Getting thereCar, plane, train, metro
When to visitYou can visit only the outside area. Occasionally the interior is open to viewing with special permission (usually through a tour company or historic society). Since the beginning of May 2015, the pyramid is open to the public every second and fourth Saturday each month. Visitors must arrange their visit in advance.
Location in RomePiramide subway station, Roma RM, Italy

Pyramid of Cestius – the only pyramid from ancient Rome

  • The Pyramid of Cestius (in Italian, Piramide di Caio Cestio or Piramide Cestia) is an ancient pyramid in Rome, Italy, near the Porta San Paolo and the Protestant Cemetery.
  • The Pyramid of Cestius is the only pyramid from ancient Rome which still stands today
  • It stands at a fork between two ancient roads, the Via Ostiensis and another road that ran west to the Tiber along the approximate line of the modern Via della Marmorata. Due to its incorporation into the city’s fortifications, it is today one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome.
  • The pyramid was built about 18–12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate and member of one of the four great religious corporations in Rome, the Septemviri Epulonum. It is of brick-faced concrete covered with slabs of white marble standing on a travertine foundation.
  • The pyramid measures 100 Roman feet (29.6 m) square at the base and stands 125 Roman feet (37 m) high.
  • A dedicatory inscription is carved into the east and west flanks of the pyramid, so as to be visible from both sides. It reads:
    C · CESTIVS · L · F · POB · EPVLO · PR · TR · PL
    Gaius Cestius, son of Lucius, of the gens Pobilia, member of the College of Epulones, praetor, tribune of the plebs, septemvir of the Epulones
  • Below the inscription on the east-facing side is a second inscription recording the circumstances of the tomb’s construction. This reads:
The work was completed, in accordance with the will, in 330 days, by the decision of the heir [Lucius] Pontus Mela, son of Publius of the Claudia, and Pothus, freedman
  • Another inscription on the east face is of modern origins, having been carved on the orders of Pope Alexander VII in 1663. Reading INSTAVRATVM · AN · DOMINI · MDCLXIII, it commemorates excavation and restoration work carried out in and around the tomb between 1660–62
  • The pyramid was built during a period when Rome was going through a fad for all things Egyptian. The Circus Maximus was adorned by Augustus with an Egyptian obelisk, and pyramids were built elsewhere in the Roman Empire around this time;
  • In 2001, the pyramid’s entrance and interior underwent restoration. In 2011, further work was announced to clean and restore the badly damaged marble cladding, through which water seepage has endangered the frescoes within.
  • The pyramid is the namesake of the Piramide station of the Rome Metro.
  • 18 most famous Pyramids in the world


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