Carcer Tullianum (Mamertine Prison), Rome

Carcer Tullianum (Mamertine Prison), Rome

The Mamertine Prison is one of the most ancient prisons in the world and a significant historical site in Rome. Located at the foot of the Capitoline Hill, this structure bears witness to the city's rich and often tumultuous history.

The prison was originally built in the 7th century BC by Servius Tullius, the legendary sixth king of Rome. The structure consists of two levels: the upper cell was used for holding prisoners temporarily before execution, while the lower dungeon-like cell was used for long-term detention and to house high-profile captives.

Over the centuries, the Mamertine Prison has been the alleged site of incarceration for several significant historical figures. Among them were the Gaulish leader Vercingetorix and, according to Christian tradition, the apostles Peter and Paul, who were held there before their martyrdom.

In the 7th century AD, the site was converted into a church, known as "St. Peter in Prison". This transformation symbolizes the transition of Rome from a pagan city to a center of Christian faith. Many Christian pilgrims visit the site to pay homage to the apostles, particularly Saint Peter, who, as legend has it, miraculously created a spring of water in the prison to baptize his jailers.

Today, the Mamertine Prison serves as a museum, providing a haunting yet intriguing glimpse into the ancient Roman justice system and the early history of Christianity in Rome. Its austere architecture and chilling tales of its past captives offer visitors a unique perspective on the city's layered past.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rome. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Carcer Tullianum (Mamertine Prison) on Map

Sight Name: Carcer Tullianum (Mamertine Prison)
Sight Location: Rome, Italy (See walking tours in Rome)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

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