Arch of Constantine

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One of the largest arches in the history of Rome, the Arch of Constantine was built in 315 AD.

It is located between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill on the Via Sacra. It was constructed to honor Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

The sizes of the arch are impressive: 21 m in height, 25.7 m in width, and 7.4 m in depth. The main part of the construction is made of marble blocks, and the attic is made of bricks, coated with marble.

Original decor

Elements that used to be located on other constructions were used to decorate the arch. There are three explanations for this:

  • The workers required special skills to build the arch to make it stand out on the background of other buildings. These skills vanished into thin air after the fall of the Roman Empire in the IV century AD;
  • The creators of the arch were limited in time. They began the building process at the end of 312 and had to finish it by summer 315;
  • Using decorative elements of other epochs is nothing more than a symbolic step. Thus, Constantine is included in the list of other “great emperors”.
triumphal arch with an unusual design in Rome
Arch of Constantine © Tomasz Koryl / Shutterstock

Decoration of the Attic

8 bas reliefs that had been taken off the monument of the epoch of Marcus Aurelius decorate the attic in pairs. On its northern side, you can see the image of the Emperor’s return to Rome after a military campaign. On the opposite side, on the southern panel of the construction, you shall see how the Emperor greets the German leader and other prisoners. It also depicts how he addresses the military forces and the moment of sacrificing animals. The bas relief of giving money to people has elements of a figure of Commodus, Marcus Aurelius' son.

The tops of every column of this unique Roman attraction are crowned with figures of the Dacians. Most likely, they were taken off Trajan’s Forum. The bas reliefs from the sidewalls of the arch’s attic and the central span have the same history. They depict the victory over the Dacians.

The impressive architecture of the Arch of Constantine
Arch of Constantine © Benny Marty / Shutterstock

The central part of the three archways

Yellow marble is immortalized in the Corinthian order. Their foundations are decorated with reliefs with images of Victoria, prisoned barbarians, and Roman soldiers. There are round reliefs above the side archways. They are 2 meters in diameter. They display the moment of sacrifice and hunt. The same round bas reliefs are situated on the eastern side of archways. There you shall see the gods of the Sun and Moon on chariots.

The Arch of Constantine in Italy became historical. Constantine immortalized his campaign against Maxentius in the image on the relief frieze. When you study the architecture of the beginning of the epoch, you can easily learn its events and facts.

Mind, that sightseeing will take plenty of time. We recommend you to take care of booking a hotel in Rome in advance. And if you are looking for a thrilling tour, check of the Catacombs of Rome. These are the burial places dating back to the period of early Christianity.

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Arch of Constantine - attractions nearby

Entrance tickets & Tours

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9 hours
Civitavecchia Port to Rome Private Sightseeing Shore Excursion
11 reviews
This service consists of a full-day private tour of Rome with a brilliant English speaking driver. He will pick you up dockside and return you to the same place at the end of the day.Tour is Completely flexible . If you wish to add sites or skip any of the sites mention please discuss the best itinerary for you with the driver .
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3 hours 30 minutes
Gladiator's Arena & Colosseum Underground Tour
81 review
Experience all the wonders of Ancient Rome on this Colosseum Underground tour. Enjoy skip-the-line admission to the Roman Forum and restricted access areas of the Colosseum; the Underground and Arena. In an intimate group of no more than 24, discover the power and glory of Ancient Rome. First, enjoy a walking tour of the Roman Forum. Your expert, local guide will bring these ruins to life. See where Julius Caesar was murdered and the evocative ruins of Temples and Victory Arches. Continue to the Palatine Hill, where Rome's Emperors lived. Enjoy a beautiful view of Rome.  Next, enjoy a Colosseum Tour. You'll step out on the Arena Floor — where the gladiators fought their battles. After standing in the same spot gladiators battled on 2,000 years ago. Then, head underground. In the Colosseum Underground, you'll discover how men and beasts prepared for the brutal games in the amphitheater's underworld. Learn about the power, passions and violence, that defined this brutal arena.
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2 hours 30 minutes
Night Colosseum Tour: with Gladiators Underground and Arena
6 reviews
Experience the beauty of the Colosseum with no crowds, on this night-time Colosseum Tour. Enjoy exclusive access to the Colosseum and restricted areas of the amphitheater, including the Underground and Arena. Join your expert, local guide for a stroll down the Via dei Fori Imperiali under the stars, before you enter the world's most iconic amphitheater.  As you walk down the Via die Fori Imperiali, your guide will explain the fascinating history of the Imperial and Roman Forum. Discover the tumultuous history of Ancient Rome's Empire, from mad Emperors to barbarian invasions.  Finally, enter the Colosseum in the glow of starlight. Step out on the Arena floor; the same place gladiators once fought. Then, descend Underground and see the eerie chambers where men waited to fight — and die.
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3 hours 30 minutes
Rome Highlights Segway Tour with Pantheon and Trevi Fountain
107 reviews
Explore the historical highlights of Rome on this 3-hour Segway tour. Led by an expert tour leader, coast through the medieval streets to witness must-sees such as the Pantheon and Spanish Steps. Cruise around Piazza Navona, explore Piazza del Campidoglio, and see the Church of Sant’Iganzio di Loyola before tossing a coin into Trevi Fountain in the hope of returning to the Eternal City. Far easier than walking, it’s a fun, effortless way to sightsee. Enjoy personalized attention from your tour leader on this small-group tour, limited to eight people.
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from 58
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