The Aurelian walls have marked the line of defense of Rome for 16 centuries, from their construction (270 to 275 AD), until September 20, 1870, when the kingdom of Italy conquered the city of Rome by breaching the sector of Porta Pia.
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The Forma Urbis Romae or Forma Urbis Severiana was a very large map of the imperial city of Rome (18 m long by 13 m high) carved on 151 marble slabs arranged in 11 rows, made under the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus, (between 203 and 211 CE). The 235 sqm map hung on a wall of an aula of the Templum Pacis (Forum della Pace). The same wall was later transformed into an exterior wall of the church of SS. Cosmas and Damian.
The Forma Urbis is one of the most extraordinary documents from imperial Rome and is a major source for the history of the city. The quality of the plan also documents Romans’ ability in realizing accurate topographical analysis and land surveys, in producing a perfectly orthogonal projection as well as their extremely developed skills in architectural and cartographic representation.