Augustus’s Mausoleum was one of the emperor’s first major building projects in Rome. Built in 28 BC, Augustus is said to have been inspired by the mausoleum of Alexander the Great in Alexandria, Egypt. Although this is the largest circular funerary monument in the world, it was left in a ruinous condition until restoration started in earnest in October 2016. Following extensive renovation, the site re-opened to the public on 1 March 2021 by the mayor of Rome. Here we provide background to the history of the tomb, as well as providing information for visiting the Mausoleum of Augustus and buying tickets online.
The information on this page was last checked and/or updated on 20 February 2022.
► Our recommended skip-the-line entry ticket for the Mausoleum of Augustus is provided by TicketStation Roma via GetYourGuide. Further details below.
The Mausoleum of Augustus in 2016 before restoration. Photograph © Ethan Doyle-White
After a restoration project costing over €10 million funded largely by the Italian telecommunications company TIM, the Mausoleum of Augustus will once again welcome visitors. Besides being the final resting place of the Roman Empire’s first Emperor, the ashes of a number of other important people were also laid to rest here. These include Augustus’s wife Livia, Germanicus – a prominent general in the Roman Empire, and the emperors Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius. Nerva, the last Roman Emperor for which the mausoleum was opened, was also laid to rest here.
At a press conference on 18 December held at the nearby Ara Pacis, Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome, announced that from 1 March 2021 the Mausoleum of Augustus will be open to the public again.
Describing it as a “historic day for Rome and the world”, Raggi said tickets for the site will be available from as soon as 21 December. The monument is the largest circular tomb in the ancient world, and one of the most impressive architectural structures from ancient Roman times.
Description of the Mausoleum
This great tomb is the largest in the Roman world. It was only matched, not bettered by Hadrian’s Mausolem – now on the other side of the Tiber River, the Castel Sant Angelo is open to the public.
Given the poor state of preservation, the original appearance is not known. Some suggest it was a large mound on a 12 metre high foundation that had an external facing of travertine. Others suggest the structure had a stepped profile, facilitated by a series of concentric walls made of concrete, joined to each other by buttresses. The completed circular mausoleum had a diameter of 87 metres and it is thought a height around 42 metres. At the heart of the mausoleum there were a series of chambers, which once held the urns of the Imperial family. The innermost probably held the remains of Augustus himself.
These inner chambers were reached by a narrow corridor from the entrance, on either side of which stood two pink granite obelisks. These were removed and now stand in the Piazza dell’Esquilino (north west side of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore) and at the Quirinal fountain.
A Brief History of the Mausoleum
Like many ancient sites and monuments that have survived intact or partially intact, the Mausoleum of Augustus has had an interesting history. It was not simply a funerary tomb that decayed over time only to be salvaged by antiquarians and archaeologists. It was even used as a concert venue!
28 BC Construction started on the mausoleum, and until 217 AD the ashes of the Julio-Claudio dynasty Emperors (excluding Nero) and their family were placed in the inner chambers.
12th century The Colanna princes fortified the structure, much like Hadrian’s Mausoleum was turned into a fortress at this time.
1241 Pope Gregory IX expelled the Colanna family, and destroyed the fortress.
18th century The Soderini family bought the site and created an ornate garden within the enclosure. Subsequently it was used to stage bullfights, then for theatrical and circus performances.
1907- 1936 The inner enclosure was converted into a concert hall, known as the Augusteo it seated around 3,500 people.
Mussolini put an end to the concerts, the last one performed on 13 May 1936. He rather fancied it for a tomb for himself as part of his regeneration of the Piazza Augusto Imperatore. This never happened.
For a more detailed history of this important monument, have a look at the official website and the interactive experience of the history of the Mausoleum of Augustus.
Visiting the Mausoleum of Augustus
A full tour of the monument includes a number of flights of stairs. People with reduced mobility may find this difficult and will prefer to restrict their visit to the central area of the monument.
From 22 April, daily from 09h00 to 19h00 (last entry at 17h30)
Only ten people are allowed in to the site at one time.
How Long Does a Tour of the Mausoleum Take?
A full tour of the monument takes about 50 minutes. From 21 April 2021 a visit includes virtual and augmented reality experiences.
From 22 April access to the site will continue to be free for residents of Rome.
How to Book Tickets for Augustus’s Mausoleum Online
Visitors are required to book a timed entrance ticket online, in advance. Booking is now open. You have a number of options.
The Official Website does not sell tickets directly. They use an Italian ticketing platform Vivaticket. First, you are required to register an account, then verify that account and only then you are able to purchase tickets. There is no refund with Vivatickets.
At the time of writing, a ticket via GetYourGuide is €15.
There is the option of a morning (10h00) or afternoon (15h00) visit. Included in the entry fee is a skip-the-line entrance ticket with an assisted welcome at the entrance, and an English Audio-Guide APP. If you speak Italian, there is a Italian guide included. Purchasing your entry ticket through GetYourGuide includes a free cancellation up to 24 hours before your chosen date (that is, a full refund with no questions asked).
An Interactive Experience
In the following promotional video, we learn that technology will play an important part of the visitor experience at the newly restored site.