Located right next to the Coliseum, the Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino) is one of the most visited landmarks in all of Rome. It is a triumphal arch erected to commemorate Roman Emperor Constantine’s victory over Maxentius in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 A.D. The night before the battle, Constantine had a vision. He saw the symbol of the cross in the sky with the words By this sign, conquer.
The following day, he had to face a much larger army than his own, but he had his soldiers carry the Christian symbol into battle and was victorious. So Constantine the Great adopted Christianity for himself and declared Christianity officially tolerated all over the Empire.
With Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion, Christian oppression and prosecution ended and the advance of Christendom started. Therefore, the event commemorated by the Arch of Constantine in Rome was a decisive moment in the history of the entire Western world.
The Arch of Constantine is richly decorated with statues and reliefs made out of marble taken from other monuments. Its decorations and reliefs of the friezes are considered as the last great example of Rome’s monumental sculpture. Most of its decoration pays tribute to the Roman Emperor Constantine, also known as Constantine the Great, for his victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge as well as for his accomplishment in the Roman society. The whole structure is 22 metres high and 26 metres wide and includes three separate arches, the central one being 12 metres high and the two lateral arches being 7,5 metres high each.
The Arch of Constantine is the most recent arch of Rome’s three remaining imperial triumphal arches, which are the nearby Arch of Titus located on the Via Sacra and the white marble Arch of Septimius Severus (Arco di Settimio Severo).
The Arch of Constantine is located next to the Coliseum, near the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, on the corner of Piazza del Colosseo and Via di San Gregorio. The nearest Metro stop is Colosseo, on the blue line. This 22-meter high arch is free to visit, there are no opening hours and it is always accessible.