San Paolo alla Regola Insula – Underground Rome Tour
Visit the Insula of San Paolo alla Regola and learn the story of how it survived throughout the centuries.
Price from 55 euros
Ancient Rome’s past emerges from the ground in this underground archaeological site near the “river Tiber”.
San Paolo alla Regola Insula underground Rome tour will take you to visit an underground archaeological site that dates back to the times of the ancient Roman Republic, and that was partially restored during the Middle Ages...
San Paolo alla Regola Insula’s restorations carried on between 1978 and 1982 brought to light an “Insula”, “an ancient roman condominium” that had been built there in ancient times. This underground archaeological site is situated underneath “Palazzo Specchi”, a fifteenth century building that now houses private apartments and a public library. The ancient roman rooms had remained ignored throughout the years, but thankfully the constructions that were carried on over them did not cause major damages.
An “Insula” was the most common ancient roman home, and it was the equivalent of a modern condominium. Here people rented apartments and had shops, which opened in the street on the first floor. The first floor is where the richest Romans lived, while the upper floors were the apartments of the poorer inhabitants.
This area, which is situated near the eastern bank of “the Tiber river”, was initially urbanized during the reign of “Emperor Augustus”, in the first century. It was “Marcus Vispsanius Agrippa”, an architect, politician, and friend of the emperor, who ordered the construction of many of the streets in this area. The modern streets are built right on top of the old ones, so you can walk the same routes the ancient Romans used even today! This neighborhood was hit by many natural disasters which caused the building to eventually sink underground. The “Insula” was transformed under “Emperor Septimius Severus”, when many Insulas in this area became offices, private houses, and beautifully decorated rooms. Unfortunately, this area was heavily damaged by a fire that occurred in the year 283. It was restored under “Emperor Constantine”, who had the first floor filled in with dirt and the walls reinforced until they were three times thicker than before. After that, the “Insula of San Paolo alla Regola” was progressively abandoned, and several collapses and alluvial deposits made it sink deeper and deeper into the ground.
The San Paolo alla Regola Insula underground Rome tour also allows you to see the beautiful mosaics preserved in this site. On the first floor found right under the ground, the pavement is decorated with beautiful black and white mosaics that date back to the age of “Emperor Severus”. It is believed that this floor which is adorned with mosaics housed the administrative offices for the warehouses.
It was in the eleventh and twelfth century that this “ancient roman condominium” was reinforced and partially brought back up towards the surface. This is the state in which they were found in the twentieth century during the more recent restorations. The San Paolo alla Regola Insula underground Rome tour will let you see an “Insula” that was damaged, modified, and restored multiple times, and therefore shows the mark of several historical periods: from three Roman Emperors to the inhabitants of third century Italy in the Middle Ages.
Highlights and what's included
- Duration: Half Day
- Places of interest: San Paolo alla Regola Insula, Underground site
- Exclusivity: All our tours are PRIVATE, not sharing with other guests
- Languages: All languages available on request