Arch of Augustus (Rimini)
Historic Site in Rimini
Constructed in 27 BC to honour Caesar Octavian Augustus, this arch stands as the oldest surviving Roman arch, marking the terminus of the Via Flaminia, connecting Rome and Rimini. Crafted from Istrian stone, the fornix spans 8.84 meters in width, 4.10 meters in depth, and soars to a height of 10.40 meters. Its architecture boasts an elaborate decorative scheme laden with political and propagandistic symbolism.
The wide opening of the fornix, impossible to close with doors, serves as a poignant reminder of the peace attained after prolonged civil conflicts. Gracing the space between the arch’s ring and its Corinthian order capitals are four divine figures, showcased in four clipei, extolling the grandeur of Rome and the might of Augustus. On the external face, one can admire Jupiter wielding a bundle of lightning, signifying imperial power, alongside Apollo, a beloved figure of Augustus and his family, bearing a lyre and a raven, symbols of his musical affinity and oracular abilities. Facing the city are Neptune, armed with a trident and accompanied by a dolphin, and Rome herself, brandishing a sword and a trophy, emblematic of her dominion over both land and sea. Ornamenting both sides of the arch are two ox heads, symbolically affirming Rimini’s status as a Roman colony.
The isolation efforts undertaken between 1937 and 1939 revealed that the arch functioned as an urban gate flanked by city walls on both sides. Originally, the structure was built using masonry covered with Istrian stone and was crowned by an attic, likely intended to house a statue of the emperor either on horseback or in a quadriga. The upper section, potentially collapsed due to earthquakes, was later adorned with battlements during the Middle Ages, which remain in place today.
Recently restored, the Arch of Augustus has reclaimed its ancient magnificence, further accentuated by the revitalized surrounding area, transformed into a public green space adorned with trees and flower beds.
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Visiting Arch of Augustus (Rimini)