FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The cat sanctuary

Posted in Italy, Rome by folkestonejack on October 4, 2013

One of the strong memories from my first trip to Rome was the sheer number of abandoned, sick and feral cats that could be seen around the tourist sites, especially at the Colosseum and the Forum. It was something of a surprise to see how much things have changed since then, which must in no small part be down to the work of the cat sanctuary at Largo di Torre Argentina. Sadly, the sanctuary is under threat of eviction from the authorities.

Torre Argentina, home to two hundred abandoned cats

Torre Argentina, home to two hundred abandoned cats

Largo di Torre Argentina is a remarkable square, holding the remains of four Roman temples and the curia where Julius Caesar met his end in 44 BC. The ruins are not accessible to the public, but the entire site is viewable from every angle from the pedestrian walkway around the square.

Around two hundred cats live in the square and it is a real pleasure to spot them strolling around the site or curled up amongst the columns – including some remarkably spritely three legged cats. The sanctuary even had an abandoned rabbit until relatively recently which had been accepted by the other cats and accorded the status of honorary cat!

The sanctuary is open to visitors from midday until 6pm, presenting an ideal opportunity to learn more about the work and to visit the indoor space which is home to new arrivals, blind cats and some of the neurologically damaged cats. It was inspiring stuff, particularly when we heard about one cat who arrived at the sanctuary in a state of paralysis but had recovered some movement over seven years of care. It was an easy choice to make a donation to support the continuation of this incredible story – long may the good work continue.

To find out more about the cat sanctuary and how to support their work, visit their website at


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