Porta San Paolo

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Porta San Paolo is one of the southern gates of the ancient, third century Aurelian Walls of Rome (The Aurelian Walls where built between 270 and 273, by Roman Emperor Aurelian to defend the city of Rome, capital of the Roman Empire by barbarian attacks). It has been separated from the Walls and it looks like a castle with the two cylindrical towers and a double entrance. It is therefore sometimes also called “Castelletto”. The two entrances had been covered by a second, single-opening gate, built in front of the first by Belisarius (530s–540s).

The structure of the gate was due to Maxentius in the 4th century and the towers were heightened by Honorius. Originally, it was called Porta Ostiensis, because it led to the way to Ostial (city port, 16 kilometres away). Later its name changed to Porta San Paolo because it was the exit leading to the St Paul’s Basilica outside the walls.

It is located close to the Pyramid of Cestius, an Egyptian-style pyramid, and the Protestant Cemetery, where a number of famous people are buried. Nowadays, there is the Ostiense Museum housed within the gatehouse.
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