The ancient Mausoleum of Augustus has been lying abandoned in the centre of the city on the banks of the Tiber for decades. It is Rome’s largest mausoleum the second largest in the world.
Around 2,000 years ago, Roman emperor Augustus built a round chamber with a diameter of almost 300 feet. He covered it with a roof and placed pillars and statues on top, increasing the height to around 140 feet.
Only the core structure remains of the place that once guarded the emperors’ ashes. These were kept in golden statues displayed in marble alcoves; however, the structure was robbed of its stone and marble for use on sites.
In 410AD, the dynasty of Augustus was lost when the Visigoths devastated Rome. It is during this time that the remains of Augustus and his fellow emperors went missing. The mausoleum then served as a fortress to Roman nobility and later as a refugee centre for exiles who fled Florence. More recently, in the 20th century, it was a concert hall until Mussolini demolished it and other medieval structures in the vicinity during the 1930s.
A corporate donation brings new life
Thanks to a donation of £5m by Telecom Italia, the mausoleum and its degraded masonry will now be restored to its former glory. Masonry cleaning services will be applied to revive the damaged marble inscriptions; once completed, a multimedia presentation, lighting and restored walkways will take visitors back through the cavernous interior of the monument. This will create yet another gateway to learning more about the Roman Empire through the history of the monument.
Restoration is already underway
Work on the site has already commenced. New unstudied areas have been excavated and restoration work on the high walls and Roman masonry is in progress.
Projects of this nature will need specialised stone cleaning and repair products, as provided by companies such as https://www.stonehealth.com/. Wild buffalo stables have been discovered and it is believed that they were used in bullfights during the time the mausoleum served as an arena. It will be interesting to see what else is uncovered before the end of the project.
The last resting place of the man who found a city of bricks and left it a city of marble will be open to visitors from April 2019.