Area Sacra

Area Sacra

Area Sacra is the holy land of the Ancient Rome that accommodated four ancient pagan temples. In 1926, during demolition work for construction of a new building, workers began to discover the remains of four distinctly different temples. The territory that holds the remains of the buildings is limited by the Baths of Agrippa on the north and the porch of one hundred columns. In the south were the buildings adjoining Circus Flaminius and in the east from Torre Argentina was the Porticus Minucia Frumentaria where authorities distributed grain rations. To the west from the discovered ruins was the first stone amphitheatre of Rome – Theatre of Pompey that could seat 40 thousand people. There was also the portico of Pompey, a building annex of the Theatre of Pompey. Usually the buildings of the pagan temples are designated by letters A, B, C and D as they belong to different chronological phases and are related to the following edifices.

There are distinguished three levels: the original level to which refer the most ancient temples, later Republican period and the Imperial period. Temple A stands on the northern side of the zone and is the closest to Via Vittorio Emanuele. It was built in the 3rd century BC, and is probably the Temple of Juturna, the goddess of waters. Its original appearance supposedly refers to the Pompey period. Temple of Juturna is a rectangular edifice surrounded by Corinthian columns made of travertine. Temple B is defined as "A Fortune of the Day". It is a circular temple with six Corinthian columns remaining; it was built by Quintus Lutatius Catulus in 101 BC in fulfilment of his vows at the Battle of Vercellae where he won the Cimbri (the Germanic tribe). Temple C is the most ancient of the three, dating back to 4th or 3rd century BC, and was probably devoted to Feronia the ancient Italic goddess of fertility, spring and flowers. Unfortunately this temple is badly destroyed. Temple D is the largest of the four, dates back to 2nd century BC with Late Republican restorations, but only a small part of it has been excavated (a street covers the most of it).

Behind Temples A and B there is the curia of the Theatre of Pompey where in 44 BC Julius Caesar was killed at the session of Senate. Death struck Caesar surrounded by the plotters said his last words "You too, Brutus" (according to one of the versions) and fell at the steps of the statue of Pompey pulling his toga over his head. Despite the fact that almost nothing is left of the theatre, the place where Caesar was killed is known. I think you have already noticed local habitants of these ancient ruins – cats, there are about 500 of them. Italians and guests of the city got used to them and consider them the true hosts of the square.

Address: Largo Torre Argentina
Coordinates: 41.895401, 12.476818