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  • Writer's pictureCharmaine Warren

Travel Guide to a Hidden Gem in Rome: Largo di Torre Argentina

Being in Rome always makes me Imagine what it is like strolling through the bustling streets and what the ruins looked like back in Rome's heyday. Full disclosure though I do have a hard time navigating the streets of Rome, not that I have tried since I have Kevin to help me navigate. This led to one of the most fascinating ruins we visited Largo di Torre Argentina, a site that promises to transport you back in time and satisfy your thirst for exploration.

Nestled in the heart of Rome, Largo di Torre Argentina is a treasure trove of ancient Roman ruins. This archaeological wonder is where Julius Caesar met his untimely end, adding a dramatic twist to your historical journey. But there’s more to this site than just its storied past. Beyond the ruins lies a sanctuary for Rome’s beloved stray cats, adding a charming and unexpected layer to your visit.

The Rich History of Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina holds immense historical significance. It’s home to the remains of four Republican Roman temples, each dating back to different periods of the Republic. These temples, designated by the letters A, B, C, and D, offer a glimpse into the religious and social life of ancient Rome. Temple B, with its circular design, is believed to be dedicated to Fortuna Huiusce Diei, the goddess of fortune.

Map of the Largo di Torre Argentina

The most dramatic chapter in the history of Largo di Torre Argentina, however, is the assassination of Julius Caesar. Again, I imagine a crime scene at this point like I would see a chalk outline of a body... but that is just me.

On the Ides of March, 44 BCE, Julius Caesar was stabbed to death at the base of Pompey's Theatre, which forms part of the ruins you see today. This event marked a turning point in Roman history, leading to the Roman Republic's end and the Roman Empire's rise under Caesar's adopted heir, Augustus. Standing where one of history’s most famous betrayals took place sends chills down the spine, offering a tangible connection to the dramatic power struggles of ancient Rome.

One section of ruins in Largo di Torre Argentina

Exploring the Main Attractions

You can see the Largo di Torre Argentina from the street which encourages you to come in and check out what you can find inside. The site comprises the remains of four Republican Roman temples, each with its unique architectural style and historical importance. These temples are known simply as A, B, C, and D:

  • Temple A: The oldest of the four, likely dedicated to Juturna, the goddess of fountains and wells.

  • Temple B: Easily recognizable by its circular foundation, it was dedicated to Fortuna Huiusce Diei, the goddess of fortune.

  • Temple C: The earliest structure on the site, dating back to the 4th or 3rd century BCE, is believed to be dedicated to Feronia, a goddess associated with fertility and wildlife.

  • Temple D: The largest temple, possibly dedicated to Lares Permarini, the gods of seafarers.

One of the temples in Largo di Torre Argentina

These temples were part of the larger complex that included Pompey's Theatre, a pivotal site in Roman history. It was in this complex that Julius Caesar met his fate on the Ides of March in 44 BCE, forever altering the course of Roman history.

One of the temples in Largo di Torre Argentina

Deeper into the Ruins of Largo Di Torre Argentina

Another section of the ruins that is not visible from the streets is the archeological finds that were unearthed during the preservation. Just imagine, these are thousands of years old! It blows my mind that although only portions of it are available you can still see it as you walk around.

Artifacts from Largo di Torre Argentina

You can see all the preserved old street signs or building insignia displayed and preserved for visitors

The Cat Sanctuary

When you walk along the ruins of Largo Di Torre Argentina you would start to notice the cats milling around and would start to wonder why they are there. A sign in the ruin tells us that this unique refuge, officially known as the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, is a delightful blend of history and feline charm. Founded in 1993 by an Italian opera singer, Lia Dequel, and a Swiss expatriate, Colomba Brignone, the sanctuary provides a safe and caring environment for the city’s cats, making it a heartwarming addition to your exploration of the historical site.

Fun Facts About the Cats and Their Care

  1. A Rescuer's Legacy: The sanctuary was established to protect the cats that had taken up residence among the ruins. Today, it cares for around 150 cats at any given time.

  2. Ancient Home: The cats roam freely among the ruins, lounging on sun-warmed stones and darting through the shadows of ancient columns, making it one of the most picturesque shelters in the world.

  3. Volunteers and Veterinarians: The sanctuary is run by dedicated volunteers and veterinarians who provide medical care, food, and affection to the cats. They work tirelessly to ensure each cat is healthy and happy.

  4. Adoption Program: Many of the cats are available for adoption, both locally and internationally. The sanctuary has facilitated countless adoptions, giving stray cats a second chance at a loving home.

  5. Community Support: The sanctuary relies heavily on donations and support from cat lovers around the world. Visitors can contribute by donating, volunteering, or even adopting a furry friend.

Things to Know Before Your Visit to Largo Di Torre Argentina:

  • There are no bathrooms so make sure you prepare for this

  • There is a small entrance fee to visit the site. I believe it was around $5 USD

  • Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm

Best time to Visit Largo Di Torre Argentina

This is by preference and availability of course but we always believe that the bast time to visit any popular tourist spot is during the shoulder season March to April and September to October. Sure the weather can be sketchy but you avoid crowding and long lines which allows you to spend more time in the site than waiting for your turn to get inside.

Let's Wrap Up!

Largo di Torre Argentina is one of Rome's newest site and truly a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. From the awe-inspiring Roman ruins that whisper tales of ancient grandeur to the charming cat sanctuary that adds a touch of warmth and modern-day magic, this site offers a unique blend of history and adventure.

If you're a history buff, the significance of this site will leave you in awe, and if you're an adventure traveler, exploring the underground tunnels and ancient temples will satisfy your quest for excitement. The unique combination of educational and engaging experiences makes Largo di Torre Argentina a must-visit destination in Rome.

So, why wait? Book your trip to Largo di Torre Argentina and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Roman history, meet some delightful cats, and create unforgettable memories. Whether you're exploring the ruins, delving into the storied past of Julius Caesar, or simply enjoying a quiet moment with a purring feline, this site promises an enriching and exhilarating experience.

We invite you to share your own experiences and insights in the comments below. Have you visited Largo di Torre Argentina? Did you uncover any hidden stories or make a new furry friend? We’d love to hear all about your adventures and tips for future visitors. Your stories and feedback help build a vibrant community of travelers and history enthusiasts.

Don’t miss out on the chance to explore one of Rome’s most captivating sites. Pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, take this travel guide, and get ready to step back in time at Largo di Torre Argentina. The adventure awaits!


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