Largo di Torre Argentina
Largo di Torre Argentina is built around the sunken Area Sacra in its center, a small and little-known archaeological site containing the remains of four temples built between the second and fourth centuries BC. The Theatre of Pompey remains were also found here, said to be the site of Julius Caesar’s assassination. Though the site is closed to the public, it has become a cat sanctuary, hosting strays that lounge among the ruins. Volunteers care for the cats, many of which will jump onto the sidewalks for a quick pat by passing tourists.
Most visitors in Rome pass through Largo di Torre Argentina at least once, and virtually any tour of ancient Roman highlights will include a stop here along with the Pantheon, Colosseum, and Roman Forum. Due to the square’s location, a stop here is often included in tours of the historic center, Trastevere, and the Jewish Ghetto.
Things to know before you go
- The square offers plenty of opportunities to photograph the famous cats of Rome against the backdrop of ancient ruins, so be sure to bring your camera.
- Though the square and viewing platforms over the Area Sacra are accessible to wheelchair users, there is a constant flow of heavy traffic. Be cautious when crossing.
- Largo di Torre Argentario is particularly pretty at night when the Area Sacra is dramatically lit.
- A stop here is equally interesting for Roman history buffs and cat lovers.
How to get there
Largo di Torre Argentaria is in the historic center of Rome along Via di Torre Argentaria, and a number of city bus routes stop in the square.
When to get there
This busy square sees slightly less traffic at night, and the illuminated Area Sacra archaeological ruins are particularly striking after sunset.
The Cats of Rome
Rome is famous for its resident stray cats who sunbathe lazily among the city’s many Roman ruins, including the Colosseum and Forum. One of its most important cat sanctuaries is the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, located in the Area Sacra at the center of Largo di Torre Argentina and hosting around 150 cats who are fed and cared for by daily volunteers. The shelter also takes care of vaccinating and sterilizing their wards, to keep the population healthy and stable.
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- Church of the Gesù (Chiesa del Gesù)
- Catacombs of Rome (Catacombe di Roma)
- Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
- Turtle Fountain (Fontana delle Tartarughe)
- Rome Jewish Ghetto (Ghetto Ebraico di Roma)
- Piazza della Rotonda
- San Carlo ai Catinari Church (Chiesa di San Carlo ai Catinari)
- Campo de' Fiori
- Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola)
- Pamphilj Palace (Palazzo Pamphilj)
- Madama Palace (Palazzo Madama)
- Farnese Palace (Palazzo Farnese)
- Gladiator Museum
- Vittoriano Museum Complex (Complesso del Museo Vittoriano)