Gardens of Sallust

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Ruins of the pavilion at Piazza Sallustio Horti sallustiani - aula e edificio a destra - 1120916.JPG
Ruins of the pavilion at Piazza Sallustio

The Gardens of Sallust (Latin : Horti Sallustiani) were Roman gardens developed by the Roman historian Sallust in the 1st century BC. The landscaped pleasure gardens occupied a large area in the northeastern sector of Rome, in what would become Region VI, between the Pincian and Quirinal hills, near the Via Salaria and later Porta Salaria. The modern rione is now known as Sallustiano.



The property originally belonged to Julius Caesar as the Horti Caesaris, but after his death it was acquired by the historian Sallust, who developed it using his wealth acquired as governor of the province of Africa Nova (newly conquered Numidia). After the writer's great-nephew it passed to Tiberius in 20 AD and was maintained for several centuries by the Roman Emperors as a public amenity. The Emperor Nerva died of a fever in a villa in the gardens in AD 98, and it remained an imperial resort until it was sacked in 410 by the Goths under Alaric, who entered the city at the gates of the Horti Sallustiani. The complex was severely damaged and never rebuilt. [1] However, the gardens were not finally deserted until the 6th century. [2] In the early 17th century Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, nephew of Pope Gregory XV, purchased the site and constructed the Villa Ludovisi, in the course of which several important Roman sculptures were rediscovered. Much of the area occupied by the gardens was divided into building lots and filled following the break-up of Villa Ludovisi after 1894, as Rome expanded as the capital city of Italy after the unification of Italy. The ancient topography itself has been irrevocably altered with the filling of the valley between the Pincio and Quirinal hills where these horti existed. [3]

Pliny writes that the remains of the "Sallustrian Gardens" guardians, Posio and Secundilla, were found there in the reign of Augustus Caesar and measured 10 feet 3 inches tall. [4]


The gardens, which were enriched with many additional structures in the four centuries during which they evolved, contained many pavilions, a temple to Venus, a porticus of a thousand paces, and monumental sculptures. Items later found in the gardens include:


A remarkably well preserved pavilion of the villa can be seen at the center of present-day Piazza Sallustio. The pavilion originally stood at the garden's summit on a spectacular location. Its main feature is a circular hall roofed by a dome.

Remains of a cryptoporticus were discovered in constructing the garage of the American Embassy on Via Friuli. A large cistern survives under Collegio Germanico at the corner of Via San Nicola da Tolentino and Via Bissolati. [5]

See also


  1. Procopius.
  2. Miranda Marvin, "The Ludovisi Barbarians: The Grand Manner", Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome. Supplementary Volumes, 1, "The Ancient Art of Emulation"(2002:205-223) p. 205 and note 9.
  3. Hartswick 2004.
  4. Walter L. Pyle, Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine, Chapter VII. Anomalies of Stature, Size, and Development.
  5. Coarelli 2007.
  6. T. Ashby, "Recent Excavations in Rome", CQ 2/2 (1908) p.49.

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Coordinates: 41°54′18″N12°29′22″E / 41.90500°N 12.48944°E / 41.90500; 12.48944