Soaring more than 100 feet (30 meters) above Piazza Colonna, the Column of Marcus Aurelius (Colonna di Marco Aurelio) is a striking ancient landmark in Rome. Erected in the second century to commemorate the emperor’s Danubian War, the column features intricate bas relief carvings that spiral upwards, depicting scenes of war and conquest.
This Roman victory monument in Piazza Colonna—once the northern boundary of ancient Rome—is covered with bas relief scenes that benefit from a guide. Join a tour for details; take a private or small-group walking tours of Rome that visits the column and provides skip-the-line access to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Many historic city center tours by bike or Segway include the column and the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Piazza Navona.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A stop at the Column of Marcus Aurelius is especially interesting for Roman history enthusiasts.
- Wear a hat and sunscreen as ancient Rome tours spend lots of time outside.
- Wheelchair users can access the square surrounding the column.
- To see the bas relief scenes at the top of the column, bring a pair of binoculars for an “up-close” view.
How to Get There
The Column of Marcus Aurelius is located in Piazza Colonna in the historic center of Rome, halfway between the Fountain of Trevi and Pantheon. The nearest transportation hub is Piazza Barberini, with a metro line A stop and a number of bus stops. When to Get There
The best time to visit the Column of Marcus Aurelius is during mild spring or fall months, when Rome is less crowded. The column can be enjoyed on a daytime or evening tour, as it is illuminated at night.
Friezes on the Column of Marcus Aurelius
The 28 blocks of Carrara marble that form the Column of Marcus Aurelius are carved in astonishing detail, depicting scenes of expeditions, battles, the plunder of villages, and even a miracle storm that saved the Roman troops. Though the column is modeled after the earlier Trajan’s Column, the style of the reliefs is more dramatic, a reflection of the evolution of Roman art in late antiquity.