Unusual Things To Do In Rome ~ The Pyramid of Cestius

It’s day three of more fascinating things to do in Rome!

Yesterday we looked at the Jewish Ghetto, Monday was the Teatro Marcello. Today we head over to the Testaccio district and visit a pyramid built in to the city wall. It’s fantastic.


The Pyramid Of Cestius

Did you know that Rome has a pyramid?? It’s actually one of the very best preserved buildings in all of Rome.
Built for Gaius Cestius in 12 BC when things Egyptian were super fashionable, the pyramid was looted centuries ago but the frescoes in the burial chamber still remain.
The pyramid is about a 30 minute walk from the Jewish Ghetto through the Testaccio, a tourist-free neighborhood bordering the Aventine Hill.
Any place that is tourist free has great local restaurants at local prices, caffes with inexpensive drinks, and gives you insight into the lives of the locals.

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Strolling along the Via della Marmorata you will have the sidewalk mostly to yourself and can actually breathe, right up to the moment you see the top of the pyramid above the trees, which literally takes your breath away!

note the there are no tourists anywhere in sight, and then note the top of the pyramid above the trees!!

The road intersects the wall with a watch tower on one side, and a pyramid on the other. It’s actually quite surreal! And completely and utterly brilliant.

watch tower on the left…
… pyramid on the right…

The Romans appreciated art and architecture, and rather than destroy great buildings they built their cities around them. As such they didn’t tear down the Pyramid when building the Aurelian Wall in 271 A.D, they just incorporated it into the wall. At the time of it’s construction the pyramid would have been in the countryside, but as Rome experienced massive growth during the first 3 centuries A.D. the city found it’s way to the pyramid and far beyond.

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Thr Pyramid Of Cestius is well worth visiting. You can walk all around it and also get a perfect view of it from the neighboring Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners, the final resting place for Keats, Shelley and Goethe among others.


Inside the cemetery there is a grassy area with benches and trees and a birds eye view of the pyramid.

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