Temple and Atrium of the Vestals : Michelin's recommendations
A round sanctuary, surrounded by a portico with twenty, fluted, Corinthian columns. This was the temple dedicated to Vesta, the fire-protecting Goddess since Romulus' time. The cella housed an altar, on which the fire was kept permanently burning. The famous Vestals were in charge of keeping the sacred flame alive. First, there were four of them, then six, living in the atrium, a vast two-floor house, surrounded by a portico. These young ladies, from good families, started their task at the age of 10. They served the goddess for thirty years. They spent the first ten years learning, the following ten years practising, and the last ten years training new recruits. Of course, they had to remain virgins. Those who broke their vows were immediately buried alive ! Punishment, for those who let the fire go out, was terrible... You can see some elements of the round temple's base, as well as major (and very fine) remains of the Vestals' house. Statues were erected to some of them (they were liked after all). These statues have been placed in the courtyard of the atrium, which was one of Ancient Rome's most symbolic locations.
- Address : v. acra - Foro Romano I - 00173 Roma00173Roma
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