Portico d'Ottavia


Portico d'Ottavia review Rate it

Great ancient columns and a marble frontispiece, held together with rusting iron braces, now form part of the church of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria. They were originally the entrance of a massive colonnaded square (portico) containing temples and libraries, built in the first century AD by Emperor Augustus and dedicated to his sister Octavia (this, in turn, had been built over a first-century BC square). The mighty structure was decorated with 34 bronzes by Lysippus depicting bellicose events from the life of Alexander the Great; these are long lost.

The isolated columns outside, and the inscription above, date from a later restoration, undertaken by Septimius Severus in AD 213. After lengthy digs and restoration work in the 1990s, a walkway has been opened allowing you to stroll through the forum piscarium - the ancient fish market, which remained in operation hereabouts until medieval times, hence the name of the church - and get a closer look at the massive remains. Atmospheric (if slightly rubbish-strewn) as the place is, there are no explanations of what you're looking at. The walkway continues past a graveyard of broken columns and dumped Corinthian capitals to the Teatro di Marcello, passing by three towering columns that were part of the Temple of Apollo, dating from 433 BC.

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Portico d'Ottavia details

Via Portico d'Ottavia

Area Rome

Transport Bus 23, 30Exp, 44, 63, 81, 95, 160, 170, 280, 628, 715, 716, 781.

Open always visible from street level. Lower area walkway 9am-6pm daily.

Admission free.

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