11 Most Famous Ancient Temples in Rome – Easy Guide + Map

The most important ancient temples in Rome are also some of the main landmarks in the city. While some require tickets to be visited because they are part of ticketed Roman ruins, many are free and very easy to access.

Many of the Roman temples that are still standing can be seen inside the Roman Forum, so if you are planning to visit the Colosseum, you can add also these important ruins because they are included in the same ticket together with the villas and buildings of Palatine Hill. Also outside of the Roman Forum, however, are several famous temples of Rome.

In our guide, we will show you the most important temples of Ancient Rome, the ones you can still visit and we will also mention some that were important back in the day but that are no longer visible. To make things even easier for you, we have included a map to quickly spot the main temples in Rome and find out how to reach them.

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Image: Important temples in Rome.

What is the oldest temple in Rome?

The oldest temple standing in Rome is the Temple of Hercules Victor, dating back to the 2nd century BC (it was built around 120 BC).

The oldest of all the Roman temples was the one devoted to Jupiter Stator. These were actually two temples and were both older than the Temple of Hercules Victor, but they no longer exist.

What was the most important temple in ancient Rome?

There wasn’t one single most important temple in Ancient Rome but several which were devoted to the main divinities. For example, among the most important temples in Rome was the Temple of Venus and Roma on the easter side of the Roman Forum. This is also the largest temple we know of from Ancient Rome.

Adding to that, other important and very famous temples in Rome have been the ones devoted to Hercules Victor and the Pantheon, devoted to all gods.

The most important temples of Ancient Rome (with map)

This is an easy map of the temples in Rome that are still visible and make an interesting stop during your sightseeing.

Temple of Portunus

Among the ancient temples in Rome, the temple of Portunus is one of the best-preserved. Located between the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin where is displayed the Mouth of Truth and the ancient Ponte Rotto broken bridge, one of the oldest bridges in Rome, this pagan worship place is also known as the Temple of Fortuna Virilis.

Image: Temple of Portunus, one of the most ancient temples in Rome.

Devoted to the river deity Portunus, his temple rises in the Forum Boarium, the ancient market destined for selling and trading cattle. Standing tall on top of a podium and featuring imposing pillars all around, the Temple of Portunus is one of the best-preserved buildings we have from Ancient Rome. Together with the nearby Temple of Hercules Victor, it’s a precious testimony to the ancient architecture of the city, one of the things Rome was famous for.

While its current look can be traced between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, its original construction dates between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Today, the temple is surrounded by a fence so you can only view it from the outside, but even if you don’t enter, it’s possible to see parts of the internal Byzantine frescoes.

  • Where: Piazza della Bocca della Verità/Via di Ponte Rotto.
  • When: Only visible from outside.

Temple of Hercules Victor

The beautiful Temple of Hercules Victor, also known as Hercules Olivarius, is the oldest marble temple preserved and one of the oldest temples in Rome entirely. Located next to the Temple of Portunus, it’s easily recognizable because of its round shape.

Image: Temple of Hercules Victor is one of the best-preserved ancient temples in Rome.

Devoted to the god protector of the traders right where it was most important, in the Forum Boarium, the cattle market between the Tiber and Capitoline, Aventine, and Palatine Hills.

The Temple of Hercules Victor was built around the end of the 2nd century BC upon the will of the rich olive oil merchant Marcus Octavius Herennius, probably by the architect Hermodoros of Salamis. Inside was a beautiful cult bronze statue, perhaps the work of Greek sculptor Skopas Minor, now kept in the Capitoline Museums. It’s sometimes mistakenly called the Temple of Vesta because confused with the ruins of the one in the Roman Forum that is also round.

The building features twenty Corinthian pillars resting on a stepped base made up of tuff blocks.

In the 12th century, the temple was transformed into the church of Santo Stefano delle Carrozze, not to be confused with the Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo in Caelian Hill. From the mid-16th century, the Temple of Hercules Victor was dedicated to Santa Maria del Sole, following the discovery in the Tiber of an image of the Virgin. The interior still displays a 15th-century fresco depicting the Madonna with Child and Saints.

  • Where: Piazza della Bocca della Verità.
  • When: Only visible from outside.


Even though today it’s a Catholic church and one of the most famous landmarks in Rome, the Pantheon was built as the temple of all gods between 25 and 27 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, friend and son-in-law of emperor Augustus. In fact, Agrippa aimed at erecting a temple to celebrate the family of the emperor.

Image: The Pantheon is one of the oldest temples in Rome.

The Pantheon is the only ancient Roman building that has remained mainly untouched and loyal to its original appearance throughout the centuries. In 608 Pope Boniface IV had the remains of many martyrs removed from the Christian catacombs and placed in the Pantheon.

This is when the Pantheon was officially converted from a pagan temple to a Christian church and named Saint Maria ad Martyres.

The Pantheon has inspired countless artists, to the extent that Raphael, one of the greatest architects and painters of the Renaissance, requested to be buried there. This important landmark is home also to several members of the Savoy former Italian royal family.

  • Where: Piazza della Rotonda.
  • When: Every day 9 am-7 pm (last entrance 6.45 pm).

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Temple of Castor and Pollux (Tempio dei Dioscuri)

Located in the Roman Forum, the Temple of Castor and Pollux is also known in Italian as Tempio dei Dioscuri. According to Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux were the twin sons of Zeus/Jupiter. This is one of the main temples in Rome still visible in the Roman Forum and is easy to spot because of the three tall pillars.

Image: Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum, one of the temples in Rome still visible.

According to the myth, the twin brothers, after helping the Romans against the Latins and the Etruscans in the battle of the Lake Regillus, were seen watering their horses in the spring of Juturna. In the 5th century BC, dictator Aulus Postumius Albinus built a temple in their honor.

The high podium we can still see dates back to the reconstruction by Metellus in 117 BC. The three Corinthian columns and the fine trabeation you can see on the side, on the other hand, belong to the renovation under Tiberius.

  • Where: the Roman Forum
  • When: Every day 9 am until sunset.

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

One of the largest temples in Rome still standing in the Roman Forum is the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina.

The building stands on a high podium preceded by a more modern staircase at the center of which you can spot remains from the ancient altar. The façade features six 17-meter-high columns in Cipollino marble capped by Corinthian capitals in white marble. Two pairs of columns are visible on each side.

Image: Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in the Roman Forum among the most famous ancient temples in Rome.

The temple was erected in 141 AD by the emperor Antoninus Pius in memory of his wife Faustina who had passed away the year before. Only in 161 AD, at the death of the emperor, the temple has been named after both husband and wife and the original inscription on the architrave “DIVAE FAUSTINAE EX S(ENATUS) C(ONSULTO)” was preceded by “DIVO ANTONINO ET”.

In the 7th century, the temple was readapted into a church that from the 11th century has been known as San Lorenzo in Miranda, probably to commemorate the place where the saint was martyred.

  • Where: the Roman Forum
  • When: Every day 9 am until sunset.

Temple of Vesta

This is one of the oldest and most important sanctuaries in Rome.

It housed the “sacred fire” and was closely connected with the Vestals’ House (Casa delle Vestali), the residence of the Vestal Virgins, the six priestesses in charge of guarding the fire and the rituals connected to the cult of the household.

Image: Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum is one of the oldest temples in Rome.

The temple was probably built in the 4th century BC and consisted of a podium covered in marble, against which the bases supported a ring of twenty Corinthian columns that enclosed the cell, also circular. The interior of the temple housed the brazier with the sacred fire, which was kept continuously burning as the symbol of Rome’s eternity and its destiny as a universal empire.

It was unlikely that any statue of the goddess was kept here. Instead, there was probably a large one at the entrance of the House of the Vestals known as Atrium Vestae.

  • Where: The Roman Forum.
  • When: Every day 9 am until sunset.

Temple of Saturn

Another building considered among the most important temples in Rome is the one devoted to Saturn. This, too, is located inside the archaeological park of the Roman Forum. Its original construction dates back to around 498 BC under the Kings times and was inaugurated in the early Republican times, making it one of the oldest temples of Ancient Rome.

Image: Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum is one of the temples in Rome.

The building was entirely renovated in 42 BC with the booty of the war in Syria and then restored after the fire of 283 AD by the Senate. The eight columns of gray granite topped by Ionic capitals of white marble and the architrave decorated with a motif of palmettes in relief belonged to the last restoration.

Together with the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, this is one of the largest remains of sacred buildings in the Roman Forum.

  • Where: The Roman Forum.
  • When: Every day 9 am until sunset.

Temple of Vespasian

The Temple of Vespasian is devoted to emperor Vespasian, who was deified after his death in 79 AD. It’s located at the foot of Capitoline Hill in the Roman Forum near the Temple of Saturn and the Arch of Septimius Severus. Of the whole building, only three tall columns are still standing.

Originally devoted only to Vespasian, it was completed only after the death of his son and successor Titus, who was also deified as divus Titus. In fact, in Italian, it is also referred to as the Temple of Vespasian and Titus (Tempio di Vespasiano e Tito).

The temple was prostyle, so it featured a row of columns only on the front. The columns were Corinthian style and formed the portico that preceded the main cell. The portico featured a column on each side but then the lateral walls were decorated with pilaster strips (lesene). To access the temple there was a large staircase.

  • Where: The Roman Forum.
  • When: Every day 9 am until sunset.

Temple of Apollo Sosianus (and Bellona)

Within the archaeological area of the Theater of Marcello and Porticus of Octavia stands tall the Temple of Apollo Sosianus. It was built between 433 BC and 431 BC and devoted to Apollo Medicus at the end of a nasty plague.

Image: Temple of Apollo Sosianus in Rome.

The temple was built in an area that was known as Prata Flaminia (Flaminian meadows) on the site of an existing temple of Apollo, also known as Apollinar, documented since 449 BC. In 221 BC, the area was reorganized and turned into the Circus Flaminius, which became the city’s livestock market.

Around this time, the temple went through some restoration work and later, it took the name of Sosianus after the name of the consul and former lieutenant of Julius Caesar, Gaius Sosio who, in 32 BC, completely rebuilt it embellishing it with precious artwork.

Even though not much remains from this sacred building, it’s part of a larger archaeological park and one of the ancient sites in Rome that I suggest visiting. Right next to the Apollo temple, on the eastern side, are the ruins of another temple devoted to Bellona, a war deity of ancient Italian origins. This was built in 296 BC by Roman statesman and writer Appius Claudius Caecus after his victory against the Etruscans.

The temple of Bellona was large and featured a front staircase. Its size and position slightly out of the sacred area made it apt for special senatorial gatherings where the members of the Senate met the magistrates or military issues were discussed, including the granting of the triumph to the victorious generals.

Here, they also used to meet the generals or ambassadors of the states that were at war with Rome or that weren’t Rome’s allies, and for this, they weren’t allowed in the “pomerium”, the sacred area. At the beginning of the war against Pyrrhus, the “war column” was placed in front of the temple, where the symbolic rite of declaration of war took place.

  • Where: Via del Teatro di Marcello.
  • When: Every day 9 am-7 pm.

Temple of Minerva Medica

Near Termini train station are the ruins of the so-called Temple of Minerva Medica. In reality, the name Minerva Medica was given because of a statue of Minerva wrapped by a snake that was mistakenly associated with this building while it came from the Campo Marzio area.

Dating back to the 4th century, for a long time it was believed to be the nymphaeum of nearby Horti Liciniani, opulent gardens on Esquiline Hill. Today, however, historians tend to identify this building with a pavilion of the Horti Pallantiani, the other gardens on Esquiline Hill in the area of Porta Maggiore.

While this is probably the right explanation, it’s also possible that the building served as a temple inside private gardens as it was commonly used. Undoubtedly, this is an important vestige and architectural feat from imperial times that sometimes feels misplaced in the middle of modern buildings.

  • Where: Via Giovanni Giolitti.
  • When: Always visible.

Mithra Temples

There are several Mithra temples found so far scattered around the city. The largest is the one you can see in the undergrounds of the Baths of Caracalla but it’s far from being the only one. Most Mithra temples in Rome require prior booking to be visited but they are worth it.

Some of the Mithra temples that you can visit include the beautiful one under Palazzo Barberini, the one in the Circus Maximus, and the one in the undergrounds of the church of Santa Prisca in Aventine Hill. There is also the Mithra temple in the underground levels of San Clemente Basilica not far from the Colosseum open to the public and one of the few you can visit without booking.

Important temples of Ancient Rome that no longer exist (+ 2 “fakes”!)

Temple of Diana (Villa Borghese)

This is actually not an ancient temple as it was built at the end of the 18th century by Italian architect Antonio Asprucci and commissioned by Marcantonio IV Borghese. This lovely temple is located in the Villa Borghese gardens and is in fact one of its highlights.

This small round temple features 8 columns and hosted once the statue of Diana, located on the marble base that is still visible. The statue of Diana of Gabii was a copy made in Hadrian’s time of a Greek original.

Unfortunately, it’s not there anymore because in 1807, due to financial problems, Prince Camillo II Borghese was forced by Napoleon to sell to France hundreds of art masterpieces from their private collection. Today, the statue is preserved in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

  • Where: Viale della Casina di Raffaello, Villa Borghese.
  • When: Always visible.

Temple of Aesculapius

This is another small temple located in Villa Borghese and built between 1785 and 1792 in Neo-Classic Ionic style by Antonio and Mario Asprucci (father and son) and with the collaboration of the Italian painter Cristoforo Unterperger.

Image: Rowing a boat in Villa Borghese lake one of the places to propose in Rome

Named after the god of medicine, it stands on a manmade islet in the lake of the park’s Giardino del Lago. This is a lovely romantic place in Rome where couples can rent a boat and row around the temple.

  • Where: Via Ulisse Aldrovandi.
  • When: Always visible.

Tempio di Giove Statore (Temple of Jupiter Stator)

There were actually two important temples devoted to Jupiter Stator but none of them is still standing.

The first Temple of Jupiter Stator was built in the Roman Forum in the 3rd century BC while the second one was erected in the Porticus of Metellus, later Porticus of Octavia in 146 BC. Both are now lost and we have no physical ruins from either of them.

Temple of Diana (Aventine Hill)

Historically, Aventine Hill has always been a plebeian area and was considered outside of the pomerium, the sacred area of Rome inside the Severian Walls until imperial times. In the Aventine area, the religious buildings belong to the Republican age, the time that marks the beginning of the social and political emancipation of the commoners.

The construction of the Temple of Diana Aventina was ordered by Servius Tulles, the fourth king of Rome, and became the place for gatherings among Latin cities under Roman rule. The majestic building featured eight columns with two orders of pillars on the sides and the statue of the goddess placed in the center.

There are no remains of this temple and what we know about it comes from ancient historical sources. If you are traveling to Spain, you can still see a temple devoted to the goddess Diana in the Merida Roman ruins.

Temple of Magna Mater (Palatine Hill)

This is another temple of Ancient Rome that no longer exists but that was very important. Palatine Hill was the location where a big Temple of Magna Mater was built after the Asian cult of the Magna Mater (Great Mother) or Cybele, the cult of the Anatolian mother goddess that was introduced in Rome around the 3rd century BC.

The temple was likely built in the 2nd century BC but it burnt twice, once in 111 BC and once in 3 AD under Augustus, and was rebuilt.

The remains of the temple have been identified with certainty between the archaic huts and the Domus Tiberiana, near the House of Augustus on Palatine Hill where was also found the statue of the goddess.

Archaeological diggings didn’t bring to light much of the remains of this temple but only parts. On the other hand, there is a representation of the building in a carving from the age of Claudius. This is how we know it was in Corinthian style, featured a high staircase, and was a prostyle, so it had no columns on the sides but only on the front.

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About The Author: Angela Corrias

Hi, my name is Angela Corrias! I am an Italian journalist, photographer, and blogger living in Rome. After over ten years of living abroad, I finally came to the conclusion that in order to better organize my future adventures, I needed a base. Since I know and love Rome so much, I moved back to the Eternal City. This is how Rome Actually was born. Here, I cover everything about Rome, from the local food to the culture to Roman history.

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