AUGUSTUS’ GATE - Fano
DESCRIPTION

Commonly known as "Arch" of Augustus, the imposing Civic gate of Colonia Iulia Fanestris it is one of the best preserved Roman monuments in the Marche Region and central Italy.

Built between 9 and 10 a.D., as the inscription on the frieze testifies, was the main entrance to the city from the Via Flaminia: It is characterized by a greater central fornix, with keystone decorated in relief (perhaps a protome representing an elephant) and two smaller fornixes for foot traffic. Entirely built in opus quadratum, it presents the exterior facing in limestone from the Monte Nerone, white as marble. The inner core is instead made of sandstone ashlar.

It remained untouched until 1463, when the artillery of Federico da Montefeltro, who had laid siege to Fano, caused the demolition of the attic; today, however, we know the characteristics of the entire monument thanks to the relief carved on the facade of the adjacent Renaissance Church of San Michele. It featured a magnificent attic in pseudoportico with six Corinthian columns, two side columns and three inscriptions. The first, in the frieze, remembered the construction of the walls in 9 d.C.; the second, in the frieze of the attic, is a dedication to the late Emperor Constantine, who died in 337 a.D. (DIVO AVGVSTO PIO CONSTANTINO PATRI DOMINORVM); while the third, placed in the lintel of the door after the 339 A.D., appointed Lucio Turcio Secondo Asterio, corrector Flaminiae et Piceni and son of the prefect of Rome Aproniano.

The Gate was the result of a carefully calculated design with well-defined proportional relationships between the various architectural elements; it was noted that the prospect of the monument was perfectly square (m 17,58 by side, 60 × 60 feet) and that the height of the attic (m 5, 88, 20 feet) corresponded to 1/3 of the total. The central arch, 20 feet wide, corresponded to 1/3 of the total of the monument width too, while the keystone is placed at the exact point of intersection of the ideal square diagonals that encloses the entire construction.

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