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Purrfectly Unique: A Tour of the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome

The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome is a unique shelter dedicated solely to providing care and protection to stray cats. Located in the historical center of Rome, the sanctuary has become an important landmark for both animal lovers and tourists.

We were visiting Largo di Torre Argentina, on a visit to Rome in the winter of 2023. Our goal was to see the cats as the cat lovers we are, and, by accident, we decided to go down some stairs to see some cats closely, and this is how we stumbled upon this cat sanctuary. It was one of the highlights of our Italian trip.

The sanctuary was established in 1994 by a group of volunteers led by Lia Dequel and Silvia Viviani, who wanted to address the issue of the increasing number of stray cats in Rome.

The site was chosen because the ruins of the ancient temples in the area provide an ideal shelter for the cats, and they have been living there since its digging in 1929.

Before we talk about the cats, let’s talk a bit about the history of Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina is a square in the heart of Rome, boasting an ancient history and significant archaeological importance. The yard is home to a complex of four temples that date back to the Roman Republic, including the Temple of Juturna, the Temple of Fortuna Huiusce Diei, the Temple of Feronia, and the Temple of Lares Permarini. The ruins were discovered in the early 20th century during a demolition project.

Since then, Largo di Torre Argentina has become one of Rome’s most impressive archaeological sites.

The square was built on top of a sacred spot for ancient Romans, the Curia of Pompey, where Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 BC. The location was considered so sacred that it was forbidden to build upon it. However, in 42 BC, Roman General Marcus Livius Drusus built a theatre on top of the site. It was later replaced by four temples in 294 BC.

During the middle ages, the Largo di Torre Argentina site became a place of commerce and trade. Later, it was used as a barracks for Italian soldiers. After Italian unification, it was decided to reconstruct sections of the city, demolishing the zone of Torre Argentina.

However, the area remained mostly forgotten until the 1920s when Mussolini’s government ordered excavation.

Today, the Largo di Torre Argentina is one of Rome’s most significant archaeological sites. It gives visitors a unique look at the city’s history.

A visit to the most famous cat sanctuary in Italy

The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is unique because it is not just a shelter but also a community. The cats are free to roam around the ruins and are not confined to cages or kennels. Visitors can interact with the cats, and some more friendly felines even greet visitors and ask for attention.

The sanctuary has become a popular attraction for tourists visiting Rome, and it is not uncommon to see visitors taking photos and interacting with the cats. The shelter has also become a symbol of how important animal welfare is and how important it is to take care of stray animals.

During our visit, we found some time to play around with some of the cats kept inside the shelter. They are, mostly, the most fragile ones. There were some blind cats, some that were resting after surgery, and others were older felines. Even though they never saw us before, most were pleased to have someone there with them, and we had the time of our lives playing around with them. You’d love it as well. It’s a great way to rest your attention after all the historical places you visited in Rome.

The sanctuary provides medical care, food, and shelter to the cats. It has a team of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure their well-being. The sanctuary is entirely funded by donations, and visitors are encouraged to contribute to support the ongoing care of the cats. We got back home with a gorgeous cat-themed bag!

In addition to providing care and protection for the cats, the sanctuary also plays an important role in controlling the population of stray cats in the city. The sanctuary practices Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR), which involves trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and then releasing them back into the community.

This approach has proven to be an effective way of controlling the population of stray cats while ensuring that they receive the care and medical attention they need.

The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is a remarkable example of how volunteers can make a significant difference in the lives of animals in need. In Rome, the sanctuary has become an important part of the community and a model for other cities to follow.

If you are visiting Rome, visit the sanctuary and support this wonderful organization. You don’t even need crazy cat people like us to enjoy it.

Purrfectly Unique: A Tour of the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome

Largo di Torre Argentina – Via Arenula
00186 Rome

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani is a passionate designer with a penchant for crafting unique experiences and a mixed taste in music. As the curator behind this blog's explorations, he takes pride in discovering fascinating destinations. Whether unearthing hidden gems or sharing captivating historical narratives, Felipe is the creative force driving the stories you find here. Join him on a journey of design, discovery, and the delightful rhythm of unconventional tunes.View Author posts