Mausoleum of Monte del Grano


The mausoleum, known since the Middle Ages under the name of Monte del Grano for its shape of an inverted bushel of wheat, is concealed under a hill of olive trees in a public park square of the Tribunes.

Access is currently via a marble portal irrelevant original entrance that leads into a corridor lined with 21 meters long brick, covered with a barrel vault, and the burial chamber with a circular plan with a dome. Large blocks of travertine at the base of the outer walls show the ancient floor level. Two slanted skylights ensured ventilation and lighting of the corridor and the cell. From this tomb, according to the humanist Flaminio Vacca, in 1500 it was extracted the marble sarcophagus, now in the Capitoline museums, that the cover-shaped bed semidistesi depicts two characters identified with the Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235 AD) his mother Giulia Mamaea. At this emperor, who was murdered in Gaul, was in fact a cenotaph dedicated to the place of his death and a magnificent tomb in Rome. Although it has been demonstrated the inconsistency of this identification the size and wealth of the sarcophagus and the monumentality of the mausoleum seem to confirm the high status of the deceased, and are considered likely that it belonged to a member of the imperial family.

A 21 m long corridor. It leads to the burial chamber 10 meters of covered diameter at a time. The room was divided into two floors with a vault, now collapsed, of which we see the tax remains. A small room was made in the upper level at the point where the access corridor leads into the burial chamber.

The ventilation and lighting of the tomb were secured by two oblique skylights In the Middle Ages the mausoleum was included in a large estate, called Casale of Forms for the proximity to the water pipe (Formae in Medieval Latin). An inscription, now lost, remembered the construction on the mountain, in 1505, of a tower which ruined in January 1900 following a wind storm.

The characters depicted on the sarcophagus, found therein according to the sixteenth-century humanist Flaminio Vacca, and now at the Capitoline Museums, have been identified with the emperor Alexander Severus and his mother Julia Mamaea.

The mausoleum is then dated at the time of this emperor (222-235 A.D.). The discovery of brick stamps in the walls of the cell and the corridor are, however, anticipate the middle of the century the construction of the tomb.

Piranesi in the eighteenth century. He drew a plant and a mausoleum section highlighting an annular passage connected to two other access corridors and a staircase that was to lead to an underground room. Excavations carried out by the X Division in 1991 did not confirm this hypothesis.

It is not clear what the external look of the tomb. It was to be definitely delimited by a circular drum consists of blocks of travertine which a row came to light during excavations for the arrangement of the park Monte del Grano.

The drum probably supported a conical mound, perhaps covered with vegetation, according to a junction customary Hellenistic, whose best-known example is the Mausoleum of Augustus.