Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary – where cats roam among the ruins in Rome.

We both proudly support cat sanctuaries and adoption centres. After all, our two cats, Chickpea and Peanut are both rescued cats that we adopted from shelters in Ontario. We wholeheartedly appreciate the tireless efforts of those who operate animal shelters as they are primarily run by volunteers. Though we wouldn’t be adopting any cats from Rome, we thought it would be a fun outing to visit the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary. Not only would we be able to interact with some kitties, but we could donate to a great cause.

When we arrived, we discovered an entirely unique and even cooler place than we originally imagined.

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Where History and Cats Unite

Not only is it a cat sanctuary, but it also happens to be an ancient archaeological marvel. In the middle of a busy city intersection lies some remnants of ancient Roman civilization, barely unearthed. Located twenty feet below the modern city surface, Largo di Torre Argentina hosts four Republican Roman temples and the remains of Pompey’s Theatre. It is widely believed that the famous dictator, Julius Caesar was assassinated in this square back in 44 BC.

After Italian unification, this site was originally going to be torn down. However, during the demolition process, the giant arms and head of a marble statue were discovered. The site was declared a holy area and was preserved from destruction.

With that said, it definitely isn’t a typical tourist attraction by any means. Anyone can walk around the perimeter of Largo di Torre Argentina from above and look down into the site for free, and at any time. And if you’re walking around, you might catch a glimpse of the only inhabitants of the temple…

CATS!

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Visiting the Cats

Guests are welcome to walk down into a visitor area to meet the residents of Torre Argentina. Approximately 250 cats live there and many are up for adoption. If you happen to fall in love with a cat at the sanctuary, you might be able to give him a loving home back in your own country. Unfortunately, we were only in Rome for four days, but travelers can even apply to volunteer at the shelter. If you love cats and want to support a great cause, it might be something to consider!

Ever since this ancient site was excavated, cats have lived there. Stray and abandoned cats took shelter in the ruins where they could be protected from the elements. Cat lovers, predominantly women, regularly visited the site to feed and take care of the cats since 1929. The shelter officially began in 1993 when desperately needed funds were raised to vaccinate, provide medical care, and spay/neuter the cats.

However, those who operate the cat sanctuary do not own the land around Largo di Torre Argentina. They are actually squatting on the land, taking care of the animals. Unfortunately, this has meant threats of eviction by the Archaeological Department and authorities in recent years. Fortunately, the owners of the cat sanctuary have been able to fight eviction notices so far. Thankfully, the law enforcement officers have acknowledged the important work that is done to help the lives of animals here. Furthermore, Torre Argentina collected 30,000 signatures for a petition in 2012 from who wanted the shelter to remain open. It is a constant battle, but I’m glad that they are able to do such valuable work to protect and care for the abandoned cats of Rome.

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

We walked down some steps into the only spot in the ruins where pedestrians are allowed. It is sectioned off from the ruins themselves, though the cats are free to come and go. Inside the main building, we immediately saw several cats enjoying some pets and scratches from visitors. Some of the cats were having a meal or a drink of water. There were also several tables with cat-themed merchandise, where everything sold benefited the cat sanctuary. Of course, you are free to make a cash donation as well. I definitely encourage you to buy some souvenirs for your cat loving friends or make a small monetary donation.

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Cats With Special Needs

Beyond the main room, visitors were encouraged to enter an isolated secondary room. Only a certain amount of people could enter at a time. The cats who stayed in this room were those with special needs or those who had recently had operations. Most of the cats were able to spend time freely walking around this area, though some had to be kept in their own space. Many cats here were recovering from surgeries or procedures, and they were resting in the many cat beds scattered all around. Some of the cats had amputated tails or ears that were frost-bitten or damaged while living outdoors. Though lots of the cats here were friendly and loved the attention, it was a good idea to give some of them their personal space, particularly if they were in recovery.

One of the sweetest cats was a white cat with two amputated ears. He was constantly rubbing up against my legs and wanted lots of attention. He appeared to be very thankful for the love and care that he was receiving at the cat sanctuary.

 

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Finding Cats by the Ruins

Justin and I walked back outside and there were many kitties lounging around the front doors. Lots were enjoying an afternoon catnap, most likely resting after a meal. They all seemed so peaceful and happy. As we walked back up to street level and wandered around the perimeter of the square, we were searching for cats down below. We kept pointing them out to one another and noticed many other people doing the same. It wasn’t only the cats that were joyful – those frequenting this part of the city were finding great joy as well. The cats have certainly brought their own character to these Roman ruins, making them quite the destination for history lovers and animal lovers.

Please enjoy our small gallery of cat photos and see if you can spot all of the cats living in the ruins!

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is located Largo di Torre Argentina, at the corner of Via Florida and Via di Torre Argentina. The sanctuary is open every day from noon until 6:00pm, though you’re welcome to stroll past any other time to catch some glimpses of the cats that are roaming around.

Get directionsExport as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSSExport as ARML for Wikitude Augmented-Reality browser
Torre Argentina

loading map - please wait...

Torre Argentina 41.895407, 12.476860 Torre Argentina Roman Cat SanctuaryLargo di Torre Argentina, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy (Directions)

Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary

PIN this image to your Pinterest board for future reference! Click the top left corner.

Would you like to visit this cat sanctuary in Rome?

Lauren
Follow Lauren:

Lauren is one half of "Justin Plus Lauren". She loves to travel, take photos, and write all about it! Lauren eats a plant-based diet and seeks out yummy vegan food on her travels. She loves nature, animals, outdoor adventures, coffee, and her cats, Chickpea and Peanut.

21 Responses

  1. Marta
    | Reply

    Rome is my hometown and I grew up surrounded by cats! We started off with one stray cat ‘visiting’ us for food and soon he brought over friends and became a bit of a mewing crowd: I always loved them and never realised it was a peculiarity of Rome, to have some many of them, roaming around. I hope they can keep the sanctuary open: I love the ruins and see their importance, but also love the idea that they can be given new life thanks to worthy projects.
    Marta recently posted…Northern Ireland with kids: the lakes of EnniskillenMy Profile

  2. Amanda
    | Reply

    Oh my goodness; this is so cute! I wish I would have known about this sanctuary when I visited Rome. I guess it means I’ll just have to go back to Rome
    Amanda recently posted…In The Bell Tower of Notre Dame CathedralMy Profile

  3. Christianna
    | Reply

    I am just dying of cuteness over here! Cats & Roman ruins – I don’t think it gets any better! <3
    Christianna recently posted…10 Reasons to Love Humboldt CountyMy Profile

  4. Wendy@TheNomadicVegan
    | Reply

    Hi guys,
    The cat sanctuary is indeed a very special place in Rome and is one of my favourite spots. Cats + ancient Roman history = two great things that go great together!
    I think I finally figured out how to link up to #WeekendWanderlust. Thanks for your help with that!
    Wendy@TheNomadicVegan recently posted…The Nomadic Vegan Celebrates Its Birthday in Chamonix!My Profile

  5. Sally@Toddlers on Tour
    | Reply

    I’m not a huge cat lover but I don’t like animal cruelty, so great to know someone is out there caring for these animals.
    Sally@Toddlers on Tour recently posted…Fall Trips or Spring Break IdeasMy Profile

  6. Rhonda Albom
    | Reply

    Being a person who is super allergic to cats, this is not a place I could visit, so I am glad you shared all these photos.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Great Views of Auckland from Extinct Mount Eden VolcanoMy Profile

  7. Esther
    | Reply

    Aww, I have visited those ruins, but never knew it was a kitty sanctuary. Now, I have to go back!!
    Esther recently posted…Budapest: the best cafés and restaurantsMy Profile

  8. Ross
    | Reply

    This is right up our alley! Great post Lauren. We also had rescue cats when we were living in Edmonton and also volunteered at the Edmonton Humane Society where we did “cat cuddling” as well as walking dogs. This reminds me a little of the animal welfare place in Koh Lanta Thailand which was a great place to work with injured dogs and cats. We’ll definitely have to check this out when we get down to Argentina 🙂
    Ross recently posted…Ultimate Safari Guide: Masai Mara on a BudgetMy Profile

  9. Ste @ The Solitary Writer
    | Reply

    The Cats look so cute. That’s great to know about this place. Will surely visit
    Ste @ The Solitary Writer recently posted…And Tom Hanks finds Lauren’s student ID cardMy Profile

  10. Vicki Green
    | Reply

    It is great to know that there is a group of people caring for the cats and have a spay/neuter program.
    Vicki Green recently posted…Icicle Gorge Trail – Leavenworth, WAMy Profile

  11. They are all gorgeous. One of them looks like my dear little TC who disappeared a year or so ago. Maybe he’s just travelling!
    Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields recently posted…Floriade and Tulip Top GardensMy Profile

  12. Bryna
    | Reply

    How great is this place! It always warms my heart to see people care for animals. I would love to visit if I’m ever in Rome. Great photos too!
    Bryna recently posted…Osoyoos Desert Model RailroadMy Profile

  13. Suze - Luxury Columnist
    | Reply

    We visited Rome in June and walked past this area – we spotted the cats but it was night time and I had no idea that it was an actual sanctuary so it was really interesting to read this
    Suze – Luxury Columnist recently posted…Where to Eat and Drink in BaliMy Profile

  14. Hannah Renton
    | Reply

    I came across this place while I was in Rome and it was lovely! Such a great idea!

  15. Tracy Williams
    | Reply

    I also support the adoption centers. I love to give shelter to the animals and adopted two cats recently. Both the cats are like my family members now. I really loved your blog. Thanks for the blog.

  16. Natalie Tamara
    | Reply

    What a wonderful place (and cute kitties!). I saw a mini David Attenborough documentary a while ago about cats in Rome and I’m almost certain that it was filmed in these same ruins. It’s called ‘City of the Wildcats’ – you might be able to recognise better if it is or not, and it’s worth a watch anyway 🙂
    Natalie Tamara recently posted…UK Diary: Exploring Coppermines Valley in The Lake DistrictMy Profile

  17. Anna Schlaht
    | Reply

    Aww. Like we need another reason to want to visit Rome. All the cats just melt our hearts. Thank you for sharing about the cat sanctuary! It sounds like an amazing and fascinating place. We’re hoping to visit Rome in the next few years and definitely want to add this to our list of places to see. 🙂

    Safe travels!

  18. Sarah Anderson
    | Reply

    These cats are all so adorable in all these pictures! It would be a lot of fun to visit those ruins and hang out with a bunch of cats there. I’m glad there is a place that feeds, waters, spays, and neuters the cats. Hopefully they are as happy as they seem, but cats do deserve their very own forever home, but there is to many for just a couple families.

  19. Laura Cawley
    | Reply

    Aww, such cute kitties!! I’m so excited to visit Rome in June and I’ve been looking everywhere for some alternative things to do rather than all the regular tourist destinations. This seems like the perfect place! I’m so happy I found your blog and I’m so happy you guys are vegan! c:

  20. Melissa
    | Reply

    These cats are so sweet! Thanks for sharing:)
    Melissa

  21. Deborah
    | Reply

    Hi Justin & Lauren – Absolutely wonderful post that I greatly enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing and for all the great photo’s. We have a rescue cat to who was thrown out in the cool fall weather three years ago, and he found his way to our backyard and would watch me curiously from under a pine tree every day. He would run up and rub against me every time I came outside – then he started sleeping on my front porch, all curled up. I didn’t know who owned him at the time, I just thought he was a stray. After two months went by and he was a fixture by my front door I couldn’t take it anymore – moved him into my warm garage and kept a heater on for him, bought him a “pooper” and some good food. Steve is allergic so I thought we would just try to find him a good home and look after him in the meantime. Well, it’s three years later, he snuggles up in bed next to us while my husband sneezes and rubs his eyes – and pets him at the same time. He’s stolen our hearts! I met the neighbour who threw him out the other day. She admitted she just assumed he’d “disappeared” and didn’t even look for him, then saw me out walking him one day (on a leash, which he loves 🙂 and realized he’d found a new home. The shocker? Apparently he is 18 years old!! I sure hope he lives a long, long life as we love him so much 😉 Anyways – great post – I think I actually might have walked through or by this area when we were in Rome a few years ago – I remember seeing all these cats and taking some pictures (but not half as good as yours).
    You guys do great work – keep it up! I hope you’ll come by newjetsetters for a read or two some day when you’ve got some time to relax!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge