Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Vestalia begins!

The Vestalia 7th - 15th June

Nancy Jardine

Wandering around the Forum in Rome, even when it rains, is an amazing experience. All around are the ruins of revered buildings, some more recognisable than others depending on which route is taken along the pathways. A map of the forum can be of great help as are the audio guides available if you’ve the time to enjoy the information given.

I had less than 3 whole days to see as much as I could of the whole of what Rome had to offer– no time for one of those handy audio guides that kick in when you reach a destination point. I’m sure I’d have been less flummoxed by some of the ruins had I used one of the audio guides but it’s great fun now to identify what I saw via my photographic record.

That brings me to the unexpected surprises at the Roman Forum of which there are a few. I had particular goals in mind and they were to locate the main building projects during the reigns of the Emperors Vespasian, Domitian and Severus.

The Temple of Vesta (more correctly I believe it should be named the shrine) is one of my surprises - The original source of the Vestalia festival which ran from the 7th - 15th June. 

 'Temple of Vesta'  Nancy Jardine
The average tourist reading a map would find themselves at the location of the Temple of Vesta and, if they’re like me, would have viewed the ruins as being as old as the others around. But when I do a little research I find that what I saw is a partial 1930s reconstruction set in place by Benito Mussolini, just enough to give the impression of what the circular building was like till 1549. 
Julia Domna - Wikimedia Commons

What was there till 1549 was a Temple to Vesta which had been reconstructed by Julia Domna, wife of the Emperor Severus, after the fire of AD 191. The shrine of Vesta rebuilt by Julia Domna was purposely destroyed in 1549 ravaged for its beautiful marble which was purloined to build other projects in Rome- churches and papal palaces.  

Check back for more of the temple/ shrine of Vesta coming soon… 


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