Largo Argentina, or silver square in English, is located in the centre of Rome and contains the open ruins of four ancient Roman temples.
Its name may derive from one of the location's early residents, a papal representative who was from Strasbourg in Germany, whose original Latin name was Argentoratum or silver town. He may have named this part of Rome after his home town.
Originally this part of Rome was part of the massive Campus Martius or Field of Mars; a field where the Roman armies would assemble (Mars was the God of War) prior to going on campaign.
This specific area was sacred or holy as it contained many temples for prayer and sacrifice. Four of these temples were unearthed in the 1920s during Mussolini's reign when houses here were demolished to make way for apartment blocks. These temples were labelled A, B, C, and D by the archaeologists and their purpose has since been identified by excavated or written evidence. The back of the temples on the west side touched the portico of Theatre of Pompey, where Julius Caesar was murdered.
Built in the 3rd century BC, Temple A is believed to be the Temple of Juturna built by Gaius Lutatius Catulus after his victory against the Carthaginians, or North Africans in 241 BC. Like many Roman pagan temples, it was later rebuilt into a church, whose apse and altar is still present.
Temple B is the circular temple with six columns. It was built by Quintus Lutatius Catulus in 101 BC to celebrate his victory over Cimbri, a Germanic tribe. Believed to be the Aedes Fortunae Huiusce Diei, or the luck of the current day, a colossal statue found during excavations of the goddess fortune is now kept in the Capitoline Museums.
Temple D is the largest of the four, dates back to 179 BC and was devoted to Lares Permarini, gods who looked after sailors. Lucius Aemilius Regillus vowed it after he won a naval battle against Antiochus the Great. It was dedicated or officially opened by his relation Marcus Aemilius Lepidus who also updated the Basilica Aemilia in the Roman Forum. Most of this temple is covered by the road and the cat sanctuary.Roman Cats
Largo Argentina Cat Sanctuary
Just underneath the Road and in part of Temple D is the cat sanctuary of Largo Argentina.
This is a not for profit no kill shelter where the stray cats of Rome are looked after for free by volunteers. You can check out their website here.
Largo Argentina is a small square in the Eternal City but it affords the visitor a chance to see ancient Roman ruins away from the Roman Forum. If you would like to see Largo Argentina on a tour of the squares of Rome, you can send me an email via the link in the menu.
My Tour reviews:
Just loved all the info that Dara gave us. Excellent tour and tour guide. Would recommend your tours to our friends visiting Rome. Thanks for your services.
5.0 Stars Brando DeOliveira
Dara was Fantastic!
Dara was fantastic! Not only very informative but funny as well. He kept the group together well, he frequently asked if everyone was okay and we stopped for toilet breaks. The tour was so interesting and well paced. It was also great that Dara was able to talk and walk at the same time unlike the guide the following day!
5.0 Stars Natasha Thomas
Dara was Very Funny
Dara was very funny and gave great information. Truly enjoyed this!
5.0 Stars Susan Kiner
The Most Enjoyable Tour
This was the most enjoyable tour of our entire two week vacation to Italy. Dara was quite knowledgeable and interjected fun facts and humor which made it even more engaging for our children - ages 20, 17 & 15. He was always respectful of the faith and reminded us of the rules, other tour guides must not have been as informative.
5.0 Stars Mike Howard
Dara did a wonderful job. I wish we would have had him as our tour guide the entire time we were in Rome. He made the tour wonderfully entertaining and very educational. He placed just enough detail in the explanation to teach us but not bore us. He did an outstanding job. Thank you Dara!
5.0 Stars Rebeka Carter
Highlights of My Trip
Most professional tour that I had on Rome. One of the highlights of my trip. Thank you!
5.0 Stars Marti Panikkar
Perfect Balance of Wit and Knowledge
He was the perfect balance of wit and knowledge - was amazed at the depth of his knowledge and he has ability to communicate the facts in an interesting manner - also gave us a good selection of the things worth seeing - I have recommended the tour on our expedia review of Rome
5.0 Stars David Garwood
Helpful and Informative
Dara was very helpful and informative. He knew each room and detail and I am glad that he was our tour guide. He had a nice personality and I was amazed with his ability to keep counting our group to make sure all were together before we moved forward. I have already recommended your tour to other people as I traveled in other parts of Italy.
5.0 Stars Audrey Ferrante
Dara was Great
Dara was great. We had to leave the tour early because our ship changed the departure time from the port city - move it up 1 hour. Dara gave us great directions on where to go to see what we wanted to see since we couldn't stay with the tour. He also was very informative while the hour or so we were with the tour.
5.0 Stars Jerry Parche
Dara's Tour was Fantastic.
Dara's tour was fantastic. He made 2000 years of history much more fun than expected. I would certainly take his tour again when I next visit Rome. I learned so much and had a great time. Thanks!
5.0 Stars Melinda
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