I received an email today from one of the many sites I follow in Rome on museums and new exhibits. Since 2009 I have been following developments around the restoration of the Mausoleum of the first Emperor, Augustus whose life and reign influenced so much our world to this day. The Mausoleum which is in the centre of the city can be missed easily if you don’t look for it, despite the fact it is gigantic.
The mobile phone company TIM is investing some 4 million Euros in archeological work of restoration and consolidation of this ancient monument built some 2026 years ago for the first imperial dynasty, the Julio-Claudian. This dynasty gave us Octavian later known as Augustus, his adopted son Tiberius, his nephew Caligula, his other nephew Claudius and finally the adopted son of Claudius, Nero. The line then dies out and is replaced by the next dynasty the Flavians, with emperors Vespasian, Titus, Domitian who built the Colosseum and much of Rome after the many fires under Nero.
Augustus died at Nola at the age of 77 after eating far too many figs which he loved in 14 AD. His wife Empress Livia will take the body back to Rome in a grand procession which will take 14 days to reach the city. After several days of Funeral games and oration, his remains will be cremated and entered into the Mausoleum. The building itself stood as a Mausoleum until the fourth century and many other relatives of Augustus where also interred buried inside. In the centuries to follow it will be used as a fortress, a bullring, a theatre and opera house. In 1928, Prince Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi as Governor of Rome proposed that the Mausoleum be returned to its original function and presented as an ancient ruin.
I witnessed the first clearing around the Mausoleum around 2009-2010 it was very interesting to see the soil at the base being cleared. The Mausoleum today stands below street level or at the level of the ancient city.
This link: http://www.mausoleodiaugusto.it/en/ will give you the complete history and what is now going to happen to create a new museum and green area around the building.
The Mausoleum of Augustus as it appeared in Antiquity
The Mausoleum as it appears today, it is next to another famous building of the era of Augustus, the Ara Pacis, which is splendidly well preserved and housed inside its own museum building.