The main entrance of Parco degli Scipioni is beyond Porta Latina, a few steps away from the small Renaissance oratory of San Giovanni in Oleo. Covering approximately 16 thousand square meters, it is less extensive than other gardens and parks in the city but has everything you need. With its pine and cypress trees, it’s the perfect place to relax on a sunny day, but also to find out more on the ancient history of Rome.
The park is the result of the archaeological arrangement of two important Roman funerary remains: the columbarium of Pomponius Hylas and the Tomb of the Scipios, today flanked by tall trees, holm oaks, oleanders, laurels and myrtles. The tomb was rediscovered twice, first in the 17th century and then in 1780, when two brothers, the Sassi priests, found an entrance to the tomb while they were widening the cellar of their home. The place soon became a habitual destination for scholars and visitors who made the “grand tour” of Rome. The family’s patriarch, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, who served as consul in 298 B.C., was buried here in a monumental stone sarcophagus with a Latin inscription, today at the Vatican Museums. Other family members occupying parts of the tomb are his son, who conquered Corsica and Algeria, and Scipio Asiaticus, who conquered Asia Minor. In 1831, in this same area, the Marquis Pietro Campana discovered the columbarium of Pomponius Hylas, with mosaics and frescoes of the first century AD; three other columbariums were discovered in the nearby Vigna Codini.
In the 1920s, the municipality of Rome began the restoration of the archaeological area. The design of the garden was entrusted to Raffaele de Vico who finished the works in 1931, creating three systems of avenues that cross diagonally, subordinate to the wider central avenue, and adapting the layout of the park to the altimetric variation of the area, with small trees used in the lower area and tall trees along the main axes.
Colombario di Pomponio Hylas and Sepolcro degli Scipioni must be booked by phone: tel. +39 060608 (daily from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm).