In our last wander round the Forum, we discovered the Altar of the Roman God of Fire, Vulcan – who, despite his failings in the looks department, managed to bag Venus, goddess of love and beauty, as his wife.
At the other end of the Forum, near the Colosseum, is the Roman Temple of Venus, commissioned by the Emperor Hadrian in 2AD.
Hadrian knew a thing or two about love – he was married to Sabina, but had a longstanding lover – a beauteous young man called Antinous, who tragically drowned in the River Nile on a sortie with Hadrian, leaving the emperor desolate.
The Temple of Venus recently underwent a 26-year renovation, which was completed in 2010.
The nave of the temple was originally flanked by 50-foot white marble columns, although these are now somewhat diminished – and at the end of the nave was a vaulted ceiling, which can be seen in the main image. The temple originally housed a statue to Venus and another dedicated to the goddess of the city of Rome – Roma.
There is also an ornate floor – the temple is now open to the elements, but the scale of it would have made it one of the most impressive structures in the Forum.
You can use Google maps to find your way around the Forum.