Arch of Malborghetto

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The Malborghetto Arch is an arch from the Ancient Roman era, circa early fourth century CE, with four pylons located on the via Flaminia, approximately nineteen kilometers to the north of Rome. Despite being part of a complex of buildings that may appear medieval, the arch's core-structure can be traced back to the early fourth century CE dated to the reign of emperor Constantine. Unfortunately, the arch's original marble covering has disappeared entirely.

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The structure that appears to be a simple house now was originally a quadrifrons arch of comparable appearance and size to the Arch of the Divine Constantine (also known as the Arch of Janus) situated in Velabrum, near the Foro Boario, during the Roman era. The name of the arch, now known as the House or Arch of Malborghetto, comes from the place where it stands, Malborghetto. It houses a museum and a division of the Superintendency of Cultural Properties.

During antiquity the vault of the arch was situated over the intersection of two significant Roman roads, namely the Via Flaminia and the Via Veientana. The surrounding area near the monument has revealed fascinating remnants of these roads (inspect).

Giuliano da Sangallo, a prominent Renaissance architect, is credited with creating the initial design for the reconstruction of the monument's original appearance, which was later refined by Fritze Töbelmann. Advancements in research have enabled the development of a new model utilizing 3D technology.


circa 315 CE

The original design of the building consisted of a rectangular-shaped floor plan measuring 14.86 by 11.87 meters, and it had a quadrifrons structure. The building was quite grand and estimated to be around 18 meters tall. Additionally, it was built on the same floor plan as the Arch of Janus, which can be observed by the travertine bases of the four pylons.

The brick masonry that makes up the building's structure is apparent. It is believed that the exterior walls were originally covered with marble plates that were attached using metal links, four of which can still be seen. The building is thought to have had columns on two of its sides, topped by a grand entablature. The uppermost level of the building, called the attic, had a small roof and was divided into three rooms by two walls with arched doors connecting them.

The building was situated above the via Flaminia, which ran from north to south, and the via Veientana, which ran from west to east. Some remnants of the pavement can still be seen within the building and along the outer edge of the arch.

Connection with Constantine's Divine Vision

circa 315 CE

The hypothesis that the monument was constructed on the site where Constantine I's troops camped prior to the assault on Maxentius was first proposed by German archaeologist Fritz Töbelmann. Töbelmann argued that if the intent was to commemorate the victory, the monument would have been erected at either Saxa Rubra, where the battle began, or the Milvian Bridge, where it was successfully concluded. The choice to commemorate the castra aestiva, or the summer campaign camp, is a curious one and has led scholars to speculate that the monument may have been intended to commemorate Constantine's legendary vision on the day before the battle. Recent investigations conducted by Gaetano Messineo have largely supported Töbelmann's conclusions.

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