5 mosaics you should see Rome

Ostiense Train Station

Piazzale dei Partigiani

Built in honour of Hitler’s ensuing visit to Rome in 1940, the Ostiense Train Station is quintessentially Fascist in design, complete with a foreboding Travertine facade. Upon entering the columned portico, look down at the floor mosaic of black and white tiles depicting sea creatures and ancient heroes raising their arm in the Roman salute that was adopted by Mussolini.

Domus of Porta Marina at Museo Nazionale Dell'Alto Medioevo

Viale Lincoln 3
+39 (0)6 5422 8199

A shining example of Opus Sectile, the ancient Roman technique of marble inlay, the compositions vividly portray the patricians as well as lions and tigers devouring their prey. The Domus was painstakingly reconstructed here from the collapsed ruins in Ostia. Chronically underappreciated, the museum will love you for coming.

Basilica of Santa Pudenziana

Via Urbana 160
+39 (0)6 481 4622

Among the oldest Christian mosaics in Rome inside Rome’s oldest church, the heavily restored composition inside the apse is doubly noteworthy for its depiction of Christ in human form. It was much more common to portray him as a lamb or the good shepherd when the mosaic was made, around the year 400.

Basilica of Saint Praxedes

Via di Santa Prassede 9
+39 (0)6 488 2456

The church to duck into when everyone else is crowding inside the nearby Saint Mary Major. Come for the dazzling gilded mosaics in and around the apse, which seem more fitting for Ravenna than for Rome. Stay for the peace and tranquillity right off one of the city’s noisiest neighbourhoods.

Complesso del Foro Italico

Piazza Lauro De Bosis
+39 (0)6 0608

Foro Italico was originally called Foro Mussolini, which explains its imposing architecture, idealised (read: homoerotic) statues, and Fascist mosaics celebrating military victories and sporting events, while never missing an opportunity to splash a Fascist slogan or Mussolini’s name, initials, and nickname: Duce.

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