Porta Maggiore, Rome Its Construction First known as Porta Prenestina, the gate now known as Porta Maggiore was built in 52 AD by order of the Emperor Claudius. It was formed by arches through which two aqueducts passed - the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. Fashioned from white travertine, the double-arched gate features inscriptions that offer praise to Claudius, Vespasian, and Titus, all of whom were involved in working on the great aqueducts of Rome. The inscriptions also offer some details as to the origin and length of the ancient aqueducts. The enormity of the gate gives one a good idea of the massive size of the public works in the early days of the Eternal City. Later In 271 A.D., the Emperor Aurelian made the gate a part of his Aurelian Wall. Experts refer to this as an early example of “architectural recycling.” Through the gate ran two ancient roads: the Via Praenestina, which was the eastern road that led to the town of Palestrina (formerly Praeneste); and the Via Labicana, which traveled southeast from the city. Honorius added to the walls in the 5th century, and at this particular site, a guardhouse was built. Visitors can still view a portion of this later addition, though the upper portion of the guardhouse has been moved to the left side of the Porta Maggiore. It wasn’t until later that the gate actually became known as Porta Maggiore, designated as such because of its close proximity to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. This church is the largest and most important place of prayer dedicated to the Virgin Mary, once serving as the Palace of the Popes. Today, Porta Maggiore remains a tourist site but is also a hub of transportation for the city of Rome. Buses and trams stop here and the gate is surrounded by heavy trafficked roads.turkeyarena.com The Baker's Tomb One of the most interesting tombs in Italy is located just beside the Porta Maggiore. The Baker's Tomb, erected in the 1st century BC by a wealthy baker named Marcus Virgilius Eurysaces, pays tribute to the baking profession as it is built in the shape of a large oven. Look for reliefs that depict grinding, baking, and other processes that were part of the trade. Eurysaces was a former slave who had saved money to buy his freedom and start a bakery. He employed several slaves who worked for him. His tomb, built for himself and his wife Atistia, was erected just outside the city borders as Roman custom forbid cemeteries inside the city. The richest people built elaborate tombs close to the city gates.