Works have begun to restore the rectangular Temple of Portumnus, frequently and erroneously known as the Temple of Fortuna Virilis. It stands in the Foro Boario or cattle market of ancient Rome, and was dedicated to the god who watched over the nearby river port. This building dates to about 100 BC, as does its circular pair, the temple of Vesta (or, probably more correctly, of Hercules Victor), and they are therefore the oldest standing Roman monuments in Rome.
The Temple of Portumnus owes its survival to the fact that it was converted in 872 into the church of S. Maria Egiziaca, named after an Alexandrian prostitute who saw the light. 250,000 have been provided by the World Monuments Fund and the soprintendenza archeologica romana. The money is sufficient for urgent works required to protect an important cycle of mediaeval frescoes and repair damage to the building from a leaking roof and pigeon droppings. If further promised financing materializes, the plan is then to proceed to a complete restoration over two years and to open the building to the public.
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