The Mausoleum of Caecilia Metella (Mausoleo di Cecilia Metella), a masterpiece of elegance and grandeur, is one of the most iconic landmarks on the ancient Via Appia.
Built during the reign of Augustus, between 30-20 B.C., to honour the memory of Caecilia Metella, daughter of the Roman consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus, and a daughter-in-law of the famous Licinius Crassus, member of the First Triumvirate along with Caesar and Pompey. The dominant position of the tomb on the most monumental part of the road reflects the wealth and prestige of the family.
The cylindrical body of the tomb set on a square concrete base - originally faced with travertine blocks still intact in a small part - is reminiscent of the Mausoleum of Augustus. This cylinder is crowned with a marble frieze decorated with garlands of flowers and fruits between bucrania, interrupted by a high relief with a trophy of weapons and a captured barbarian with his arms tied behind his back. The presence of the reliefs of bucrania - ox or bull’s skulls - accounts for the name of “Capo di Bove” (Oxen’s head)
Around 1300 the Caetani family incorporated the tomb in their castle (Castrum Caetani) which they equipped with ghibelline battlements and transformed into the main tower of their fortification.
Open from Thursday to Sunday from 9.00 to 19.30 with last entry at 19.00.
Closed 1st January and 25th December.