Piramide di Caio Cestio


One of the landmarks of Rome

If the Via Appia is the symbol of mastery of the ancient Romans in the construction of public works, the Pyramid of Caius Cestius shows that advanced construction techniques were widely used also in the private sector.

Placed at the beginning of the Via Ostiense, the pyramid is the tomb of the wealthy patrician Caius Cestius, who died around 12 BC, which, like all the Romans at his time, was passionate about everything that had to do with the recently conquered Egypt. In his last wills he stated that his tomb was to be a pyramid and that the construction had to be completed within 330 days, otherwise the heirs would lose all rights. Highly motivated by the prospect of losing the heritage, they completed the work in a few days less than the 330 expected.

The pyramid is a mountain of concrete with a single burial chamber which represents less than 1% of the total volume, covered with a curtain of bricks and then with slabs of travertine. The use of concrete allowed the realization of a much more slender shape of pyramid when compared to the Egyptian ones, made with blocks of stone.