Once Emperor Augustus saw the great tomb of Alexander the Great, he decided he should build a similarly opulent tomb for himself and the imperial family. After the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, where Augustus was victorious against Mark Antony and Cleopatra, he began work on the mausoleum. It is the largest circular-shaped tomb, with a diameter of 295 feet.
If you are looking for tourist attractions near me, the mausoleum is located at the Piazza del Quirinale and in Piazza dell’Esquilino.
Famous Romans who have been buried in the mausoleum beside Augustus include Tiberious, Caligula, and most relatively recently, Nerva.
The tomb was originally built with earth and brick, arranged in a circular pattern, with a limestone coating. Cypresses, an evergreen native to the Mediterranean, were planted around the top level. Reconstructions have featured a large bronze statue of Augustus at the pinnacle. Legend says that Augustus wanted a basketful of earth from every place in the empire he ruled.
Two obelisks also once stood at the entrance, however, they have been relocated to other areas of Rome. The golden urns that originally housed the royal family were likely plundered in the sack of Rome by the Visigoths.
As the area fell into disrepair, it became a mound of dirt and grass.
The tomb has had many uses, including a garden, a fortress, a concert hall, and a favored restoration project by Benito Mussolini. It fell into disrepair again in the decades after World War II, overgrown with trees, and became a sore spot with the Italian government. In January 1017 restoration began to allow public access for the first time since the 1970s.
It was set to be open for 2019 however the reopening has been delayed. It opened briefly to the public in March 2021 before closing again due to Covid concerns. You can still go to see the outside of the structure, where various plaques will give information on the site.