Tritons and Temples

La Fontana dei Tritoni -- Fountain of the Tritons

Across the street from the Mouth of Truth we spied the resplendent Fontana dei Tritoni, Fountain of the Tritons. Sculpted in 1717 in honor of a pope, two massive-thighed tritons, tails intertwined, sit back to back on a pointy rock, muscular arms hoisting a shell-shaped basin overhead.

A stone’s throw away sits the graceful Temple of Vesta, a misnomer since the temple was actually dedicated to Hercules Olivaris, patron of olive oil merchants. Dating from the late 2nd century BCE, it is the oldest surviving marble temple in Rome. Fluted columns of Greek marble capped by ornate Corinthian capitals support a scalloped circular roof.

Temple of Vesta

In contrast, the rectangular Temple of Portunus stands nearby. Also known as Temple of Fortuna Virilis, this temple honors the God of Ports, protector of harbors and sea trade. Dating from approximately 70 BCE, it is a wonderful example of Greco-Italo architecture.

Temple of Portunas

We walked around to the backside of the temple and in doing so, spied a napping street musician, his accordion serving as a pillow on the grass.

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