Compared to other very famous architecture monuments in Rome, Mamertain Prison was very unfamiliar for me at the first time I heard it. I guess it’s same to most of the people. I went there around 10 in the morning, and I was the first person who visited there. A woman who worked in there said she will turn on the light, and after 10 minutes of waiting, I could get in. Even it was relatively sunny day, after I went into the basement, it was very dark that I needed to turn on my phone flash light. I was by myself, in the dark prison, honestly I was scared. I almost heard ancient prisoner’s scream. About 10 minutes later, a woman came in and said the light was off and she turned on it for me. Anyways, it was very ‘prison’ experience for me. Close look at the Mamertine sign, on top of it proclaims ‘prison of the Saints and Apostles Peter and Paul’ This stairs bring people to the lower room of the prison, where prisoners were actually imprisoned. Yes, it was this dark. In the basement, the manhole is the only natural light source. Back in the time, food was provided from this hole. In fact, in the old Roman time, the stairway did not exist. This hole was the only link between two chambers up and down. Prisoners were thrown to die slowly in the lower chamber. Prisoners were high offenders that 99% of them were going to surely executed. However they were already died before since the Mamertine’s original use was cistern. Cold water was filled in the cold rock prison, and there were no exits, no one for saving them. The filled water killed them and the bodies were emitted to the water. A tomb was such a luxury for them. These two people are Apostles Peter and Paul. They were keep the door locked.
This is the view from came out from the upper chamber. It is interesting to see the contrast between the prison space and outer Roman forum that represents Roman prosper.