A Tourist in Rome - Porticus Octaviae
|Location:||Via del Portico d'Ottavia, behind the Theatre of Marcellus|
|Metro:||Colosseo, or Circo Massimo and Bus #160, or see it on my To the Forum Boarium and Beyond Walking Tour instead|
|Time:||about 10 minutes|
|Hours:||Viewable at any time from the Via del Portico d'Ottavia, and nicely lit at night, but access to the side facing the Theatre of Marcellus is only available during the daytime|
The Porticus Octaviae was once a large rectangular plaza surrounded on four sides by a gallery supported by a double row of columns. There was one entrance per side; what remains today is the southwestern entrance of those four. It is tucked away behind the Theatre of Marcellus on Via del Portico d'Ottavia. The structure was originally built in 146 BC, and the 300 columns surrounded an immense rectangular area which held two temples: one dedicated to Juno and one to Jupiter. It was rebuilt around 27 or 26 BC by Augustus and dedicated to his sister Octavia Minor. The colonnaded walkways of the portico enclosed pre-existing temples of Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina, and a newly-constructed library erected by Octavia Minor in memory of her son Marcus Claudius Marcellus. After an earthquake in 442 AD, the entrance was repaired hastily with a brick arch rather than repairing the colonnade (photos below). This led to its rather haphazard appearance today. During the Middle Ages and up to the end of the 19th century, the portico was used as a fish market due in part to its proximity to the river. The inscription on the pillar on the right side of the arch reads, in Latin, "the heads of the fish longer than this marble plaque are to be given to the city administrators, up to the first fins included". The smaller one on the left side of the arch forbade street games.