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Temple of Vesta

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Temple of Vesta

The Vesta Temple is located south of the Sacred Way, in front of the Regia. It is one of the oldest temples in Rome. In this temple the sacred fire in honor of Vesta, goddess of Fire and Home, was always kept under fire, under penalty of great misfortunes.

The building was the object of several reconstructions, which conserved the entrance facing east and the circular shape of the floor (inspired by the Iron Age cabins), the most recent to which the preserved remains is from the time of Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus in 191.

The circular temple rises on a podium about 15 meters in diameter, the cella is surrounded by twenty Corinthian embedded columns. The roof was conical and had an opening to allow the smoke to escape. Inside the cella was not the cult statue, but only the sacred fire. A trapezoidal cavity that opens onto the podium and accessed only from the cella seems to be the location of the penus Vestae, where the objects that Eneas brought back from Troy were preserved: Palladium ( Minerva's wooden image) and the images of the Penates.

The temple was closed by Theodosius I the Great in 394.

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