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One of my favorite chill-out spots in the city (although it's located at a very busy intersection) is this park-like area, known as the Piazza Bocca della Verita, for the famous Bocca della Verita, located in a church (Santa Maria in Cosmedin) across the street. This small corner lot is home to both the Temple of Hercules Victor and the Temple of Portunus. This structure is a monopteros, a round temple enclosed by a colonnade, Greek in origin. It dates to about the second century BC, perhaps erected by Lucius Mummius Achaicus, so named for his conquest of the Achaeans and the destruction of Corinth. The temple is about 15 m in diameter and is encircled by a ring of 20 Corinthian columns which stand about 30 feet high. It's fairly well preserved, although the roof has long since vanished. It has the distinction of being the oldest surviving marble structure in Rome. It's mentioned in two passages, one in Servius's commentary on the Aeneid and Macrobius's Saturnalia. Like so many other ancient (surviving) structures, this one was converted into a church, since at least 1132, when it was known as Santo Stefano alle Carozze (it's unclear what the "carriages" designation was), with additional restorations and altarations made in 1475. It was rededicated in the 17th century to Santa Maria del Sole. It was erroneously thought to have been a temple to Vesta before its true identity emerged. Its most recent restoration took place in 1996.

In the foreground stands the Fountain of the Tritons (Fontana dei Tritoni), not to be confused with the one by Bernini. This one was created in 1715 by Carlo Francesco Biazzaccheri. It's made of travertine, placed on a circular step. The centerpiece is made of a group of rocks with bushes on which rest two tritons, holding the oyster shell upper basin. Between them appears the coat of arms of the pope who sponsored the fountain. This fountain also underwent some restorations, in 1994/5 and 2010.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 78 N: 420] (1148)
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