Portico d'Ottavia

Via del Portico d'Ottavia 29. (Open Map)


This portico was probably built by emperor Augustus between 33 and 23 BCin memory of his sister Octavia. The complex rose on a more ancient building: the Portico of Metellus that was built between 146 and 131 BC. 

The Portico of Octavia has a rectangular plant and consisted of a double colonnade that encircled the area with two temples in its center: the more ancient temple was dedicated to Juno Regina and the more recent one to Juppiter Stator. The latter was the first temple entirely made of marble built in Rome by the Greek architect Hermodorus from Salamina. No trace remains today of this temple. 

Behind the temples there is a building with an apsis, the Curia Octaviae, which also appears in the Severian marble plant Forma Urbis and included also a library. At the center of the northern and southern sides there are two monumental entrances or propylaea that have facades consisting of four Corinthian columns. In the side walls made of bricks covered with marble two arched openings led to the portico. 

Only some columns on the southern side, the architrave, the tympanum and two arches in the side walls remain today of the entire complex (other columns were replaced in the Middle Ages by a huge arch that led to the Church of Sant’Angelo in Pescheria). 

There still is the inscription that commemorates the restoration of the monument by emperor Septimius Severus and can be dated back to 203 AD. On the modern sidewalk there still are some of the columns of the portico. Several works of art decorated the Portico of Octavia, including a bronze statue of Cornelia mother of the Gracchi. 

This was the first statue of a woman to be exposed to the public in Rome and its base is now inthe Capitoline Museums. In the Middle Ages the zone was used as a fish market: hence the name of the small church built within the structures of thepropylaeum of the Portico, dedicated to Sant’Angelo in Pescheria (fishmarket). 

The monument can be accessed through a small ramp that continues via del Portico d'Ottavia, to a ramp opposite the columns that can be crossed by disabled people and a flight of steps that connects the area of the propylaeum to the entrance of the church Sant'Angelo in Pescheria, and a small passage that links the buildings in via di Foro Piscario.