The gate was built in 1644 as part of the Janiculum Walls which replaced the Porta Portuensis. The gate and walls were built by Vincenzo Maculani; commissioned by Pope Urban VIII. Just outside the gate, a large arsenal was erected by Clement XI starting from 1714.
Until the late 19th century, the Ripa Grande port (then the main river port of the city) was located in the nearby.
A popular flea market is held every Sunday in the area of Porta Portese.
- Quercioli, Mauro (1982). Le mura e le porte di Roma. Rome.
- History of the popes; their church and state (Volume III) by Leopold von Ranke (2009, Wellesley College Library)