On of the most characteristic of the ancient Tivoli monuments is the one to be seen on the Via degli Orti (to the south of the city), the former Clivus Tiburtinus. It's mistakenly called Temple of the Cough or the sepulchre of the Gens Tuscia. It's neither a temple nor a sepulchre, but a lovely monumental atrium, a cylindrical room, built in opus vittatum protected by a hemispherical cupola, at the center of which is an opening to let in the light.
The cylincrical part is made up of two
layers, one on top of the other. The upper part has seven
niches (four semi-circular ones and three rectangular);
on the inside there are the same number of windows to
let in the light.
Again on the inside there are rectangular or square niches, but of larger dimensions. Without any doubt whatsoever, this is the work, albeit unfinished, of a great architect.
In the Middle Ages, as happened for the Temple of Sybil and the Temple of Vesta, it was transformed into a Christian church, called Our Lady of the Dark Gateway or of the Pass. Some restoration work was carried out utilizing material from the nearby Sanctuary of Hercules. In the 10th century there was painting of the Ascension of Christ in the niche of the last apse on the right. In the first niche, a figure of Christ imparting Benediction (dating from the second half of the 13th century) was to be found.
An impressive complex of buildings which almost looks as if it is one with the surrounding rock...
Patrocinio Comune di Tivoli
Assessorato al Turismo