The Horti Sallustiani owe their name to the fact that they belonged to the historian Sallust. They were the largest monumental park in Rome with the gardens and the villa and occupied a vast area delimited by the current Via Salaria, Via Veneto, Via XX Settembre, and the Aurelian Walls. This area previously belonged to Julius Caesar and was purchased by Sallust in 44 B.C. who enlarged to make it his residence. It became imperial property under Emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.). We know that Vespasian enjoyed staying in the Horti and that Nerva died there. Other works were performed on the complex by Emperors Hadrian (117-138 A.D.) and Aurelian (270-275 A.D.). Aurelian in particular built a racecourse were he used to ride on horseback. The villa suffered severe damages during the invasion by the Goths guided by Alaric in 410 A.D. and was never rebuilt. There were several buildings disseminated in the enormous area of the park, including a thermal resort and a temple dedicated to Venus Ericina. The ruins of a large complex consisting of three sets of buildings can still be seen today in Piazza Sallustio at the depth of 14 meters below the street level. The main building consists of a large circular hall covered with a dome, similar to the Serapeum of Villa Adriana in Tivoli.There are niches opened in the walls, two of which give access to side rooms which were probably nymphaea (monumental fountains). Many famous sculptures come from the Horti Sallustiani, including the Galata Morente (Dying Galatian) kept in the Capitoline Museums, the Galata Suicida (Suicidal Galatian) and the Trono Ludovisi (Ludovisi Throne) kept in Palazzo Altemps. Even the obelisk placed since 1789 on top of the Spanish Steps comes from the Horti Sallustiani.
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