Rome to reopen ancient Mamertine Prison

Prison at Roman Forum will reopen with new visitor facilities.

The Mamertine prison at the Roman Forum will reopen to the public on 21 July, following a year-long closure to allow for archaeological work and the installation of multimedia visitor facilities.

Located under the 16th-century S. Giuseppe dei Falegnami church in the north-eastern corner of the Forum near the Vittoriano museum, the 3,000-year-old Carcer Tullianum is the oldest jail in Rome.

According to popular legend, the prison's inmates included St Peter although the Catholic Encyclopedia states that there is no "reliable evidence" of the saint's imprisonment there.

The city is also expected to open a new entrance to the Roman Forum, beside the reopened prison, on 21 July, according to Francesco Prosperetti, the superintendent for Rome’s archaeological heritage.

Prosperetti also stated that the Forum exits at S. Teodoro and at Clivo Palatino would be “active within a few months”, as part of plans to improve access to the Roman Forum.

The news follows the recent experimental opening of a new entrance at the Colosseum.

The Mamertine museum can be visited on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, every half an hour from 09.00-midday and from 14.00-16.00. A maximum of 15 people are allowed to enter at any one time, for details see Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi website.