Rome: Rome’s Mausoleum of Augustus will reopen to the public on 1 March 2021 following a major restoration funded principally by Italian telecommunications company TIM.
Describing it as an “historic day for Rome and for the world,” the reopening was announced by the city’s mayor Virginia Raggi during a press conference at the nearby Ara Pacis museum on 18 December.
Raggi said that from 1 March until 21 April, Rome’s birthday or Natale di Roma, the site will be free to all visitors, with online reservations open from 21 December via the Mausoleo di Augusto website.
The monumental tomb of Rome’s first emperor is destined to become a major draw for tourists, following decades of abandonment, and Raggi said that after 21 April it will remain free to visit for residents of Rome for all of 2021.
In addition to more than €6 million in sponsorship from TIM, the restoration of the 13,000-sqm mausoleum was funded with around €4 million from the city and Italy’s culture ministry.
The works, which began five years ago under the administration of former mayor Ignazio Marino, will also see the gradual pedestrianisation of the surrounding area and the relocation of the existing bus terminus.
Constructed in 28 BC, the mausoleum is the capital’s largest circular tomb and has been closed to the public for much of the last 80 years, with access stopped completely in 2007.
The structure was used as a concert hall in the late 19th- and early 20th century and narrowly escaped demolition by Mussolini in the late 1930s.
Over the years the monument has been the subject of numerous stalled renovation projects, one of which would have seen it ready in 2014 in time to mark the 2,000th anniversary of the death of Augustus.
The mausoleum is located in Piazza Augusto Imperatore, alongside Via Ripetta and Richard Meiers’ Ara Pacis museum, which contains Augustus’s Altare della Pace, to commemorate the peace created by the emperor.
Luxury jeweller Bulgari is currently converting a rationalist-style building, opposite the mausoleum, into a five-star hotel. The fascist-era building, built between 1936 and 1938, will have 114 rooms when it opens as the Bulgari Hotel in 2022.