Temples of the Forum Boarium | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Temples of the Forum Boarium

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Peta Stamper

27 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Temples of the Forum Boarium

The Temples of the Forum Boarium are two of the best preserved Roman temples to have survived from the Republican era, and together marked an important commercial and religious spot nestled by the Capitoline, Palatine and River Tiber. Comprised of two temples, the Temple of Hercules Victor and the Temple of Portunus, the Temples of the Forum Boarium date back to approximately the 2d century BC.

Today, the restored temples are an unmissable spot along any tour of Rome‘s ancient sights, also offering a spot to rest alongside the city’s bustling streets.

Temples of the Forum Boarium history

Dating from the 2nd century BC, the Temple of Hercules Victor (or Ercole Vincitore) was a round structure with 20 columns dedicated to the Greek and Roman hero Hercules, and the earliest marble structure in the city. The temple was likely erected by L. Mummius Achaicus, who conquered the Achaeans and destroyed Corinth.

The larger Temple of Portunus was a square building dedicated to the Roman deity of rivers, ports and harbours. As the site of the original docks of Rome, the Forum Boarium would have been a hub of commercial activity, the temples sending mariners off having paid their respects to the gods.

The Forum Boarium was itself originally part of the Roman cattle market before becoming a commercial centre. In 264 BC, the Forum was also the site of the city’s first gladiatorial contest as part of an elite funerary gift for the dead.

During the late Western Roman Empire, the area was overtaken by shops as both temples were deconsecrated. By 1132, the Temples of the Forum Boarium were incorporated into medieval Christian churches, likely accounting for their excellent state of preservation.

Temples of the Forum Boarium today

Beginning in the late 1990s, the site saw new landscaping an conservation efforts towards both temples, resulting in the site we see today. Backed by tall trees and endless Roman blue skies, the temples are in fantastic condition, providing visitors with a sense of the bustling ancient cattle market dominated by these structures.

There are plenty of benches dotted around the Piazza, so take a moment to rest and admire the temples. Besides the Temple of Hercules Victor is also the Fontana dei Tritoni, a 17th century Baroque fountain.

Getting to the Temples of the Forum Boarium

Located in the Piazza Bocca della Verita, the Temples of the Forum Boarium are easily reached using Rome’s public transport system. Buses 44, 81, 95, 160, 170 and 628 stop at the Piazza.

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