Porticus Of Octavia

The so-called Porticus of Octavia, or Porticus Octaviae, stands in the very heart of the Rome Jewish Ghetto in Via del Portico di Ottavia, overlooking Piazza Gerusalemme. The porch was built on the ruins of the earlier Porticus of Metello, a chief of army who had conquered Macedonia region in Greece. The Porticus of Metello also enclosed the temple of Juno Regina and the temple of Jupiter Stator, the first marble temple ever built in Rome!

Porticus of Octavia
Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder
Location: in Via del Portico di Ottavia 29, in the Jewish Ghetto Area
Tickets: Not Needed. Always Accessible
Kid-friendly Attraction

Structure and Features in Ancient Times

Later in time, in the 2nd century BC, Emperor Augustus decided to start renovation works of Porticus of Metello, and dedicated the new construction to his sister, Octavia.

Today very little remains of this huge building. What you still see is basically one of the two entrance gateways, called in Latin propylaea, supported by five columns.
However, you have to think about the Porch of Octavia as vast, rectangular colonnaded courtyard with over 100 columns, extending from the Theater of Marcellus to the Theater of Balbus and enclosing the two temples in the middle.
This monumental complex, the first open-air museum ever built in Rome, was regarded as magnificent and luxurious in ancient times, boasting finely worked bronze capitals, statues, paintings and other works of art probably acquired during the military campaigns in Greece.

Porticus of Octavia Reconstruction

The Fish Market

In the Middle Ages the ruins of the Porticus of Octavia were used to house a local fish market and also the Church of Sant’Angelo in Pescheria was erected. If you are standing on the little bridge over the archeological area, you can’t miss to notice the figure of Sant’Andrea, patron and protector of the fishermen.
Following the unification of Italy, the fish market was moved from Portico of Octavia to the square of San Teodoro in 1885.

Porticus of Octavia, little bridge
Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder

Meaning of the Area

Besides the beautiful remains, the Porticus of Octavia has a great symbolical importance for the city of Rome. It was from this very spot that Cola di Rienzo, tribune of the Roman people in the mid 14th century, set off to triumph over Capitol Hill to give the power back to the people of Rome and put an end to a devastating the civil war.