An alchemist's magic door can be found in Rome's Piazza Vittorio park.
The Alchemical Door, also known as the Magic Portal or the Alchemy Gate, is located in the grounds of the former Villa Palombara, today a park in the centre of Piazza Vittorio in the Esquilino area of Rome.
The curious monument dates to the 17th-century and was part of a larger complex of so-called alchemical doors, built between 1678 and 1680 by the villa's owner, Massimiliano Palombara, Marquis of Pietraforte.
One legend tells of a visitor described as "Stibeum the pilgrim" - later identified by some as the alchemist Giuseppe Francesco Borri - who told the marquis that he could turn metals to gold with the help of a mysterious herb.
The guest spent the night searching the villa's gardens for this special plant before allegedly disappearing forever through a portal the next morning.
However, before departing, he left behind a trail of gold dust along with a document containing obscure symbols and equations, thought to be the magic formula for making gold.
The marquis had the symbols engraved on the five gates of Villa Palombara, in the hope that one day someone could decipher their meaning.
Four of these magic doors have been lost over the centuries but one exists to this day, still surrounded with occult symbolism and mystery.
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The curious tale of Rome's Magic Portal
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Roma, RM, Italia
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