Porta Settimiana was one of the 3 gateways in the Aurelian walls on this side of the river. This section of the wall, no trace of which remains, created a triangle with the top of the Janiculum and included the whole of the Trastevere area.
In the Middle Ages, the Via Recta left through this gate. It allowed pilgrims who had arrived in Rome from the Tiber river port in Trastevere to reach St. Peter's.
The gateway was restored at the beginning of the 15th century and again at the end of the same century, when Pope Alexander VI gave it the military look that it retains today.
The same pope started the restructuring of Via Recta and his successor, Julius II, included the street in an urbanization plan, never completely realized, that would have created a quadrilateral with Ponte Sisto, Via Giulia, Ponte Giulia, and Via Recta – later known as Via Della Lungara
Although the project was never completed, Via della Lungara became one of the great streets of Rome and the neighborhood became home to the residences of both the lay and ecclesiastical nobility. Follow the street for a short distance beyond the gateway and you will see the entrance to one of the Renaissance's most extraordinary villas, Villa Chigi.