Porta Magica (Magic Door)
Also called Porta Alchemica (Alchemical) or Porta dei Cieli (of the Skies), this is definitely one of the secret places in Rome. Located in the gardens of Piazza Vittorio on the Esquilino Hill, this strange structure was built between 1655 and 1680 by marquis Massimiliano Savelli Palombara inside his once residence, Villa Palombara, where today are the gardens. The nobleman got close to the world of alchemy and science as an aftermath of frequenting the palace of Queen Christina of Sweden who had a well-equipped lab managed by alchemist Pietro Antonio Bandiera.
According to the myth, the alchemist Francesco Giuseppe Borri stayed over Villa Palombara for one night in the quest for a magic herb able to produce gold. The morning, he was seen stepping over the door and disappear. In the process, he left behind some speck of gold result of an alchemic formula and a paper filled with symbols that revealed the secret of the philosopher’s stone. Those symbols are now the decoration of the Magic Door.