Making a New Friend in Rome

I had heard about her so went looking.

It didn’t take much to find her, she was right where I expected her, although I had expected her to have a more fitting setting. She was at the back of a carpark behind a fence.

She was less blooming beauty and more faded rose. Her white marble coat long gone.


She is of course the arch of Janus or in Italian, arco di Giano built in the middle of the 4th century. Janus is Rome’s only remaining quadrifron arch. Constructed from reused building material, a bit like Rome’s cosmati church floors. (And we were all wondering what happened to the rest of the Forum’s ruins!)

Janus is sited in the Forum Boarium near the Temples of Portunis and Hercules, and the Bocca della Verita at the  Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. It is speculated that it was shelter for traders at the markets situated here or the meeting point of major arterial routes in and out of Rome including the via Appia, via Salaria etc. It may be that it was both at different times.

The Velabrum for the Latin vel or marsh.

She is sitting right on top of the Cloaca Maxima.

I immediately fell deeply in love.

At one time the Frangipane family added a fortification to the top to protect themselves. This was later removed.


In 2016 Janus was on the world monuments watch list and was apparently restored as part of this project. Looking at it though it is very difficult to see where this restoration took place?


Nevertheless I am very taken with Janus, one of the truly magnificent monuments in a deeply fascinating part of Rome with zero tourism, yes zero.

On the day I was here my friend queued at the Coliseum for 2 hours then gave up while I had this site entirely to myself and enjoyed it thoroughly before crossing the bridge to Trastevere for a beer and saltimbocca alla romana. 🙂



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