Rome's House of Vestal Virgins reopens in Roman Forum

Atrium Vestae reopens fully as part of new Roman Forum itinerary.

The Colosseum Archaeological Park reopens the House of the Vestal Virgins to the public fully on 6 July following an extensive restoration that began in 2013.

The Atrium Vestae, or Casa delle Vestali, is located next to the Temple of Vesta in the eastern side of the Roman Forum, at the foot of the Palatine Hill.

"It is the first step of a complex research and restoration programme," explains the director of the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo, Alfonsina Russo, who told Italian news agency ANSA that the move is part of a wider approach to allow visitors to rediscover the "extraordinary monuments" in the World Heritage Site.

Who were the Vestal Virgins?

The Vestal Virgins - six at any one time - were priestesses chosen to tend to the temple dedicated to Vesta, the powerful Roman goddess of the hearth, as well as performing rites and ceremonies throughout the year, in a tradition dating back to the seventh century BC.In addition to taking a 30-year vow of chastity (with violations punished by being buried alive),the virgins were tasked with keeping alive the temple's sacred flame, a symbol of the continuance and security of Rome.The House of the Vestal Virgins, once a three-story 50-room palace, was excavated by Italian archaeologist Rodolfo Lanciani in the late 19th century.
The inauguration of the new itinerary through the Atrium Vestae takes place on the evening of 5 July, reports online art newspaper Finestre sull'Arte, with a dance performance in the presence of  Massimo Osanna, director of Italy's state museums.

For more details see Parco Colosseo website. Photo Parco Archeologico del Colosseo.

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Address Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome's House of Vestal Virgins reopens in Roman Forum

Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy