Things to do in Rome

Explore the ancient history of Mamertine Prison in Rome

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Uncover the captivating history of Mamertine Prison in Rome - an ancient prison that has stood since the 7th century BC. Located at the foot of Capitoline Hill, it is a must-visit spot for history buffs and curious travelers alike, offering a fascinating history to explore.

Mamertine Prison

Mamertine Prison - In A Nutshell

Handy information

⏰ Suggested Duration:1 hour
☀️ Best Time to Visit:Early morning or late afternoon
💜 Must See:The Carcer Tullianum
🎟️ Mamertine Prison Tickets€10
🚇 Closest Metro Barberini

Things to know

Built in: 7th Century BC
Location: Rome
Constructed by: Ancus Marcius
Famous Historical figures imprisoned: Saint Peter and Vercingetorix

Opening Hours And Address

Monday - Sunday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Last entry: One hour before closing
Address: Clivo Argentario, 1, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Get Directions

Why is Mamertine Prison Worth Visiting?

  • Discover an ancient historical landmark that dates back to the Roman Republic and holds fascinating stories of famous historical figures, including Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Vercingetorix.
  • Explore the prison's different parts and learn about the ancient Roman justice system.
  • Take in the picturesque views of the prison located at the foot of Capitoline Hill, making it a scenic spot for sightseeing and photography.

Mamertine Prison Tickets

Mamertine Prison History

Mamertine Prison has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the Roman Republic. The prison was initially used as a state prison, where political prisoners were held and executed. Over the centuries, it became known for its harsh conditions and the infamous Carcer Tullianum, the oldest part of the prison, which was used to hold high-profile prisoners.

Throughout history, several famous historical figures were imprisoned in Mamertine Prison, including Saint Peter, who was held there before his crucifixion, and the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix, who was held there before his execution. The prison was also used as a holding place for prisoners of war, and many enemies of the state were executed within its walls.

Today, visitors can explore the different parts of the prison and learn about the ancient Roman justice system. The prison has been preserved as a historical landmark, with exhibits and informational displays that help visitors understand the prison's history and significance.

Mamertine Prison

Mamertine Prison Architecture

Mamertine Prison has a simple, unadorned architectural style that reflects its function as a prison. The prison consists of two levels, with the lower level being the Carcer Tullianum, the oldest part of the prison. The lower level is a small, dark space with a low ceiling, designed to keep prisoners in isolation and confinement.

The upper level of the prison consists of several small rooms that were used to hold political prisoners. The rooms are small and cramped, with little ventilation or natural light, and the walls are thick and sturdy to prevent prisoners from escaping.

Visitors to Mamertine Prison can explore both levels of the prison and see the different architectural features that were used to confine and control prisoners.

Highlights of Mamertine Prison

1Ancient Roman origins

Mamertine Prison, also known as Carcer Tullianum, is one of the oldest prisons in Rome, dating back to the 7th century BCE.

Mamertine Prison

2Two levels of confinement

The prison features two distinct chambers, the Tullianum (lower) and the Carcer (upper), used for different levels of detention and punishment.

Carcere Mamertine Prison

3 Historical significance

The prison held numerous high-profile prisoners, including St. Peter and St. Paul, as well as enemies of the Roman Empire like Vercingetorix and Jugurtha.

Mamertine Prison

4Connection to Christian history

Mamertine Prison is considered a sacred site by Christians, as it is believed that St. Peter and St. Paul were imprisoned and performed miracles there.

Mamertine Prison

5Preserved structure

Despite its age, the prison still retains many original architectural elements, such as the stone walls, floor, and entrance, offering a glimpse into ancient Roman history.

Mamertine prison

Exploring Mamertine Prison: What To Know


The main entrance to Mamertine Prison is located on Clivo Argentario, near the Roman Forum. Visitors can also enter the prison from the Capitoline Hillside, near the Tabularium.

Guided Tours

Guided tours to Mamertine Prison are available and highly recommended, as they provide visitors with a more in-depth understanding of the prison's history and significance.


Mamertine Prison is not easily accessible for visitors with mobility issues, as it requires navigating steep staircases and narrow passageways.

Skip-the-Line Tickets

It is recommended to purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance, as the prison can get crowded during peak visiting hours.

Best Time To Visit Mamertine Prison

The best time to visit Mamertine Prison is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to avoid the crowds that tend to gather during peak visiting hours.

Additionally you can learn more about the Best Time to Visit Rome.

Opening Timings Of Mamertine Prison

  • Open Monday - Sunday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Mamertine Prison is by public transportation. Visitors can take the Metro Line B to the Colosseo stop or the bus to Piazza Venezia.

Insider Tips & Offbeat Facts

  • The prison is said to have been named after the Roman god of war, Mars, who was known as Mamers in the local dialect.
  • Visitors can touch the ancient stone structures in the prison, which have been preserved for centuries.
  • The prison's architecture has been compared to that of a medieval dungeon, with its small, cramped cells and lack of natural light.
  • The prison's location at the foot of Capitoline Hill provides visitors with stunning views of the surrounding area.
  • The prison is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of its former prisoners, adding to its eerie atmosphere.

Interesting Facts About Mamertine Prison

  • The prison has been in use since the 7th century BC.
  • The prison was used to hold several famous historical figures, including Saint Peter and Vercingetorix.
  • The prison was the location of several high-profile executions, including the Catiline Conspiracy conspirators.
  • The prison was renovated several times throughout history, with new additions and modifications being made to improve its function as a prison.
  • The prison's architecture is typical of ancient Roman prison design, with thick walls and small, cramped cells.
  • The prison is considered one of the oldest surviving examples of a Roman prison.
  • The prison has been the subject of several films and television shows, including the 1953 film "The Prisoner" and the TV series "Rome".
  • The prison has been visited by several famous historical figures, including Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

Restaurants Nearby

La Pergpla - Mamertine Prison
La Pergola

This high-end Italian restaurant offers an exquisite dining experience just a 20-minute drive from the prison. Known for its exceptional cuisine and impeccable service, La Pergola is perfect for those seeking a luxurious dining experience.

Italian Food - Aroma - Mamertine Prison

Located just a 5-minute drive from the prison, Aroma offers high-end Italian cuisine with stunning views of the city. Enjoy a refined dining experience with expertly crafted dishes in an elegant atmosphere.

Ristorante Mirabelle - Mamertine Prison
Ristorante Mirabelle

Just an 8-minute drive away, Ristorante Mirabelle serves high-end Italian cuisine in a sophisticated setting. Indulge in delicious dishes while taking in the breathtaking views of the city.

Osteria Fernando - Mamertine Prison
Osteria Fernanda

A cozy mid-range Italian restaurant just a 15-minute walk from the prison, Osteria Fernanda serves up traditional dishes with a modern twist. The warm atmosphere and delicious food make it a popular choice for visitors.

L’arcangelo - Mamertine Prison

Located a 12-minute walk from the prison, L'Arcangelo is a mid-range Italian restaurant offering classic dishes in a charming, intimate setting. Known for its delicious homemade pasta and welcoming atmosphere, it's an ideal choice for a relaxed meal.

Angelino Ai Fori - Mamertine Prison
Angelino ai Fori

Just a 7-minute walk away, Angelino ai Fori is a mid-range Italian restaurant known for its mouthwatering pizza and pasta. Enjoy a delicious meal in a casual, friendly atmosphere, surrounded by the city's historical charm.

Ristorante Matricianella - Mamertine Prison
Ristorante Matricianella

A 10-minute walk from the prison, this mid-range Italian restaurant offers a delightful dining experience with a focus on traditional Roman cuisine. Savor the flavors of Italy in a warm and inviting atmosphere at Ristorante Matricianella.

Pizzeria Florida - Mamertine Prison
Pizzeria Florida

For a budget-friendly Italian meal just a 15-minute walk from the prison, Pizzeria Florida serves up tasty pizza and pasta dishes in a casual, lively environment. Perfect for a quick, satisfying meal without breaking the bank.

Other Tourist Attractions To Visit Near Mamertine Prison

Hotels around Mamertine Prison


Who was held in Mamertine Prison?

Many prominent figures were held in Mamertine Prison throughout its history, including Vercingetorix, the Gallic chieftain who fought against Julius Caesar, and Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. It is said that Saint Peter was held in the lower level of the prison before he was crucified in the nearby Circus of Nero.


Can you visit Mamertine Prison?

Yes, Mamertine Prison is open to visitors and can be accessed via guided tours. The prison is located beneath the Church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami, and visitors can enter through a small door in the church.


What is the architecture of Mamertine Prison like?

Mamertine Prison is a small, dark, and damp space with two levels. The upper level was used for the detention of lesser criminals, while the lower level was reserved for high-profile prisoners. The lower level was accessed through a hole in the ceiling, and it was said that the only source of light was the reflection of the prisoners' eyes.


What are some notable features of Mamertine Prison?

One of the most notable features of Mamertine Prison is the Tullianum, a small dungeon on the lower level that was used to hold the most dangerous and important prisoners. The Tullianum was accessed through a narrow staircase and had a small spring that provided drinking water. Another notable feature is the graffiti of the prisoners, which includes carvings and inscriptions made by the prisoners on the walls of the prison.


Is there anything else to see in the vicinity of Mamertine Prison?

Yes, there are many other historical sites to see in the Forum Romanum area of Rome, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Arch of Titus. The nearby Capitoline Hill also offers stunning views of the city, and there are several museums and art galleries in the surrounding area.

Mamertine Prison Guide