Porta alchemica

Porta Alchemica (Alchemical Door), also known as Porta Magica (Magic Portal) or Porta Ermetica (Hermetic Door) or Porta dei Cieli (Door of Heaven), is a stone structure with several inscriptions of an esoteric and initiatory character, is the only rest of the ancient Palombara villa and was built between 1655 and 1680 by Massimiliano Savelli Palombara, located in the eastern countryside of Rome on the Esquilino Hill.

Now located in Piazza Vittorio, according to a legend this door preserves the secret of the philosopher’s stone, in fact it is considered as the highest testimony of the European magic-alchemic tradition.

According to this legend, a pilgrim called stibeum, was hosted in the villa for a night. This pilgrim, identifiable with the alchemist Francesco Giuseppe Borri, spent that night in the gardens of the villa in search of a mysterious herb capable of producing gold. The next morning he was seen disappearing forever through the door, but he left behind a few flakes of gold fruit, the result of a successful alchemical transmutation, and a mysterious paper full of puzzles and magic symbols that would contain the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone. The Marquis tried in vain to decipher the contents of the manuscript with all its symbols and enigmas, so he decided to make it public by having it engraved on the five doors of the Palombara villa and on the walls of the mansion, hoping that one day someone would be able to understand them.

Porta Alchemica is the only survivor of the five gates of the Palombara villa, and on the jambs are the symbols representing the sequence of planets associated with the corresponding metals: Saturn-lead, Jupiter-tin, Mars-iron, Venus-copper, Moon-silver, Mercury. However, at the top there are two overlapped triangles, which form a Star of David combined with additional symbols. At the base there is a palindromic word Si Sedes Non Is (if you sit you don’t go) which backwards turns into Si Non Sedes Is (if you don’t sit you go).

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