This rectangular, tetrastyle, pseudo-peripteral temple of Ionic order is one of the most intact buildings of Ancient Rome. Located in the vast Piazza della Bocca della Verita, it is today an important testimony of Roman architecture, because of the integrity of its structure. The construction does not conform to the canons of Greek art, but rather retains the features of the Etruscan architectural culture. The temple was inserted into a sort of scenic setting of which was integral part also the circular temple dedicated to Hercules, located in the same area; it was adjoining the complexes of the temple of Mater Matuta and S. Nicola in Carcere.
Commonly known, in the past, as Temple of Fortuna Virilis, it is by now attributed with certainty to Portunus, a youthful god associated with water crossings and seaports, because of its location, at a sharp bend in the river Tiber, just in front of the Pons Aemilius (Aemilian Bridge) and the extension of the road that led to the Forum Boarium. It stands on a high podium due to the construction of new embankments occurred at the beginning of 2nd sec.BCE.
Connected to the Portus Tiberinus, the commercial harbour of the City that occupied the area where today the Palazzo dell’Anagrafe stands, the temple, in its earliest phase, is dateable to the 4th or 3rd century BCE and was probably renovated after 70 BCE.