Japanese sponsor opens pyramid on 20 April.
Rome’s restored Piramide Cestia was inaugurated on 20 April in the presence of the city's mayor Ignazio Marino and Yuzo Yagi, the Japanese entrepreneur who sponsored the monument's €2 million restoration since work began in March 2013.
Yuzo Yagi – who has imported Italian clothes to his Yagi Tsusho chain of fashion stores in Japan for some 40 years – said that the restoration of the 2,000-year-old monument was his way of thanking Italy for his success. Yagi hosted a reception for 250 guests at the city’s Egyptian-style pyramid, in the S. Paolo-Ostiense district, on the night of 20 April.
Long a mottled mixture of stained grey and brown, the pyramid is now a pristine white. To celebrate its return to splendour there will be special guided tours at 10.00, 11.00 and midday on 21, 22, 23, 24 and 26 April.
The pyramid stands in the middle of a busy junction between Piramide train station and the city’s Non-Catholic Cemetery, opposite the fortified Porta S. Paolo. During the opening Marino revealed that the city is considering the pedestrianisation of Via Raffaele Persichetti, on the eastern side of the structure, but conceded there were logistical difficulties involved, given the junction's importance for Rome's traffic.
The 36-metre high monument is Rome’s only existing ancient Egyptian-style pyramid and dates from the first century BC. It was built as a tomb for the powerful Roman magistrate Caius Cestius, and experts believe that it has evaded collapse over the centuries because it was incorporated into the Aurelian walls in the years 271-275.
The pyramid can be visited on the second and fourth Saturday of the month for individuals at 11.00, and for groups at 10.00 and midday. Reservations are required, for more details see website.