Palatine Towers

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The Palatine Gate, with a stretch of the Roman city walls.

The Palatine Gate (Italian: in Italian Porta Palatina; Piedmontese: Tor Roman-e) was the ancient Porta Principalis Dextra which allowed access from the North to Julia Augusta Taurinorum, the Roman civitas now known as Turin.

This gate represents the primary archaeological evidence of the town's Roman phase, and is one of the best preserved 1st century BC Roman gateways in the world. Together with the ancient theater, located a short distance away, it is contained in an area called the Archaeological Park, opened in 2006.[1]


Formerly known as Porta Doranea [2] in the 11th century, the name Porta Palatina is most likely derives from the Latin Porta Palatii (gate of palace). The origin of this term can be traced back to various hypotheses. The first and most trusted of these suggests that results from the probable contiguity of Palatium,[3] the building was the seat of the Imperial sovereign Lombard. A second hypothesis might lead to the presence of an alleged adjacent amphitheatre built near present-day Borgo Dora.[4] rapidly fall into disrepair of hypothetical circus structure could have earned him the name "Palatium .


The Porta Principalis Dextra allowed access to cardo maximus currently identified in the Porta Palatina street and San Tommaso street. His impressive remains are currently visible at the center of an open area, today's Cesare Augusto square. Quite similar to the ancient Porta Decumana, included in the subsequent medieval structure of the present Palazzo Madama, it shows an example of a typical cavædium door, or a double door with quadrangular courtyard on the inside whose remains, placed in front of the gates.[5] More than thirty metres high, the two angular towers are characterized by a square base and body punctuated by one facet to sixteen sides. It is necessary to specify, however, that only the Tower on right [6] and the central part named interturrio. The prospect of interturrio is about twenty metres and includes one in the first arc and order windows with flitch plate plateau in the upper register. In the underlying portion open the two big arches and two smaller pedestrian gates placed sideways; the grooves along the inner walls of the passage suggests the original presence of cateractæ, which is a possible system of gate valves, or simple grates, operated from the upper floor. On the ground near the door is still part of the guardhouse added in the Roman period, on which you can see the furrows on the stones caused by the transit of wagons. The pair of bronze statues depicting Augustus Caesar and Julius Caesar are not originals but copies from the last, radical restoration of 1934. They, however, are the subject of dispute, as it placed incorrectly in the internal area occupied by statio and not outside where, possibly, would have more relevance.


From the ancient age to the 16th century[edit]

Built in the 1st century BC during the Augustan Era or Flavia Era, Porta Principalis Dextra may have preceded the construction of the walls and perhaps was built on an earlier port of Republican era.[7] The door kept a long time its function as a city gate and already in the 11th century was transformed into castrum , although over time lost the internal structure of the cavædium . In 1404, after centuries of incursions and partial decay, was rebuilt the Tower left and both were complete with battlements for defensive purposes; access continued to be ensured, even if by only one provides.

The 18th century[edit]

The urban renewal process started in the early decades of the eighteenth century from Vittorio Amedeo II involved the disappearance of Porta Palatina . The dismantling was not then implemented through the intervention of Mr. Antonio Bertola, who managed to convince the Duke to the need to preserve the ancient architectural work.

In 2006 the City of Turin started a restoration of the archaeological area aimed at improving the park, making the towers accessible to the public and building an underground parking for the carts of the nearby Porta Palazzo market.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Or Doranica".
  3. ^ Palatium, might be the current Municipal Palace or maybe it was the House of the Senate, located very close to the Porta Palatina. It attributed the controversial stay of Charlemagne in 773, of Charles the bald, Lothair 947 and even Frederick Barbarossa. However, we have no documentation to confirm with certainty these events.
  4. ^ The hypothesis on the presence of this amphitheatre is suggested by the particular conformation of the nearby Borgo Dora street which, with its elliptical track, it could be the residual evidence of a circus .
  5. ^ The testimony of statio are small traces left do assume a maximum depth of the cavædium, of about twelve yards.
  6. ^ That no battlements.
  7. ^ surveys effected between 1936 and 1938 detected more remnants of structures that they assume the existence of an earlier Roman Republican era door.


  • Torricella, Giuseppe - Torino e le sue vie, Turin, Le Livre Précieux, 1971.
  • Cardoza, A. e Symcox, G. - Storia di Torino, Turin, Einaudi, 2006.
  • Luisa Papotti, La Porta Palatina. L’intervento di restauro degli anni novanta, in Liliana Mercando (a cura di), Archeologia a Torino. Dall’età preromana all’Alto Medioevo, Umberto Allemandi & C., Turin, 2003, pp. 89-96
  • Claudio Franzoni, Le mura di Torino: riuso e “potenza delle tradizioni”, in Enrico Castelnuovo (a cura di), Torino. Prima capitale d'Italia, I luoghi dell'arte, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani, Rome, 2010, pp. 13-22
  • Gruppo Archeologico Torinese, Guida archeologica di Torino, Turin, p. 102
  • Politecnico di Torino Dipartimento Casa-Città, Beni culturali ambientali nel Comune di Torino, Società degli Ingegneri e degli Architetti in Torino, Torino 1984, p. 286