This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In the heart of Rome, just a few blocks from the Pantheon and Piazza Navona sits a historic site many tourists overlook. Largo di Torre Argentina — a busy square where lots of buses stop — doesn’t make it into many guidebooks. But it’s actually one of the city’s most significant sites.
History buffs will know it as the site where Julius Caesar was murdered on March 15, 44 BC — the Ides of March. He was stabbed 22 times outside the Theater of Pompey, which sits between two of the four temples in the square. Lying about 20 feet below street level, the archeological site has been off-limits for years: Except to a colony of stray cats.
The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary opened in 1993 and a team of volunteers cares for them. They take in stray cats from Rome and the surrounding towns, and spay, neuter and vaccinate them. Last year, they spayed and neutered 6,174 cats and found new homes for 117 of them.
There are currently 130 cats at the sanctuary just waiting to be taken home. Some are blind or have other disabilities. One scrawny black cat, for example, only has three legs. Nowadays, the cats are the only living beings that can access the sacred area where ancient Roman temples once stood.
Earlier this year, Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi announced that fashion house Bulgari will renovate the ancient site and open it up to tourists by the end of 2021. “Rome is always the main source of inspiration for Bulgari,” Jean-Christophe Babin, the CEO of Bulgari, told Condé Nast Traveler. “This site has an extraordinary value because it’s the oldest open-air spot in Rome.”
The brand has pledged over $1.1 million to the project, about half of which was leftover from the 2016 renovation of the Spanish Steps. Not to fear, the cats and their sanctuary will be safe and unaffected by the restoration project.
The sanctuary is open 365 days a year from 12pm until 6pm and free to visit.
Featured photo by Laura Itzkowitz
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees