The Carcer Tullianum, also called Mamertine Prison and known in the tradition as the prison of St. Peter, is still today a window on the republican age of Rome. It holds within its walls more than 3,000 years of history, with archaeological relics of priceless value and charm. Located in the most evocative setting of the city, the Roman Forum, this museum and archaeological site offers an extraordinary view of ancient Roman civilization.
The first attestations of the complex are already recorded starting from the 9th century BC. It consists of two distinct monumental units: the upper Carcer, dating back to the Ancus Marcius era (640-616 BC), the lower Tullianum, from the reign of Servius Tullius (578-534 BC). During the 16th century, the church of St. Joseph of the Carpenters was erected above the prison. The site can now be visited thanks to the restructuring carried out with the contribution of Euroma2.
Saints and enemies of Rome
Inside the Tullianum you can see the spring where the enemies of Rome were left to die. In the waters of the Tullianum many figures of great historical importance have found death among which one of the greatest strategists of antiquity, the warrior and gallic prince Vercingetorix, kept imprisoned for five years before his execution.
According to the tradition has it that the spring is work of St. Peter, apostle of Jesus and the first Pope of the Catholic Church. By striking the rock with the stick, the saint would have miraculously sprinkled the water and used it to baptize prisoners and prison guards. This is why the monumental complex is also an important place of devotion and spirituality. Over the centuries it has become a popular pilgrimage destination in Rome and every year welcomes many believers visiting the city.
Tradition and technology
The great historical riches of the archaeological site have been brought back to life thanks to modern technologies and digital devices. In the museum you are guided by an immersive multimedia tour that includes: in-depth videos on the monumental complex, augmented reality reconstructions of the original environments displayed on the tablets provided, and informative texts on the relics found during the recent excavation campaigns.
Among the findings there are also various remains of fruit and seeds dating back to the beginning of the 1st century AD. One of the examples of greatest naturalistic and scientific value is the lemon (Citrus limon), the oldest ever found in archaeological sites in the Mediterranean area.