Campus Martius

The ancient Campus Martius (Campo Marzio) in Rome was an area extending from the River Tiber on its western edge, where Romulus and Remus washed up in their cot before going on to found Rome.

It is speculated that the area was called Campus Martius – the Latin name – because it was dedicated to Rome’s premier god, Mars, who symbolised the city’s military prowess.  There may also have been an altar built to Mars within the area.

Teatro Marcello and remains of temple

CAMPUS MARTIUS – a brief history

Campus Martius expanded over the course of Rome’s history, with plots of land being sold off to wealthy citizens. Important monuments which still remain today were constructed, including Teatro Marcello and the Temple of Apollo Sosianus (see featured image), as well as Area Sacra, where the theatre of Pompey stood, scene of Julius Caesar’s murder.

Other areas that sprang up as the area developed were Piazza Navona, where a stadium was built after the area was decimated by the great fire in 64AD – as well as the area around the Pantheon.

Pantheon Rome 2003

Because the Campus Martius (the Field of Mars) was located north of the Capitoline Hill – behind which the Forum stands – the area was not actually situated within  the city.

The area was thought to have been the place to go for plebs at festival time – and also the scene of horse races. Piazza Navona and the nearby Campo Dei Fiori are known today as places where crowds gather to eat, drink and be merry.

Piazza Navona

How big was the CAMPUS MARTIUS?

Campus Martius was an area that could be looked down on from Rome’s hills – and comprised around 250 hectares (600 acres).

From the Capitoline Hill, Campus Martius stretched just over 2km north and south as far as Porta Flaminia – and just under 2km to the east and west between the Quirinal Hill and the River Tiber.


Today, the area is much smaller and is contained within the IV Rioni (district) of Rome around the area of Monte Pincio. The area is still known as Campo Marzio, stretching to Piazza Colonna from Monte Pincio (next to the Quirinal Hill).


Campus Martius in its original incarnation – stretching from the Tiber to Quirinal and then to Piazza Navona and on to Teatro Marcello – is a useful area to spend time walking around because it contains many of the most interesting ancient sites, such as the Pantheon, the Jewish Quarter, Area Sacra, Piazza Navona and Campo Dei Fiori.

Area Sacra
Area Sacra is a shortish walk from the Piazza Venezia – the oldest Roman temple was found here but it is now home to some very contented looking cats.

The more energetic – or determined! – can make their way to Piazza Colonna and also visit the Trevi Fountain, Quirinal Palace and Piazza di Spagna, which is very near Monte Pincio.

By the time you reach Monte Pincio, you will undoubtedly be ready for a cup of tea – and Babingtons is close at hand at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna.

Spanish Steps day
Trinita dei Monti, Spanish Steps
Babingtons Tea Shop

For more tips on getting round Rome on foot and seeing the maximum number of sites in a day, download the Walk Rome blogs.

Walk Rome: Temple of Apollo Sosianus and onwards

Walk Rome: Piazza della Repubblica to the Vatican

Walk Rome: Piazza di Spagna to The Pantheon

Walk Rome: Piazza di Spagna to Trastevere

Buon viaggio!


Columns from the ruins of Temple of Apollo Sosianus, stored next to Teatro Marcello (in the background)
Teatro Marcello, marking one of the boundaries of the Campus Martius

Featured image: Remains of Temple of Apollo Sosianus

All images copyright A. Meredith


Fancy visiting Rome now?



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Buon appetito!

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