Rome Italy skyline

Temple of Vesta
House of the Virgin Vestals

The Roman Forum Walk

The round Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum is where the vestal virgins literally kept the "home fires burning".

This is certainly one of the interesting places to visit in Rome Forum walking tours.

The Roman Forum Temple of Vesta
Giovanni Dall'Orto

The virgins sole job was to guard the flame in the Temple. Vesta was the goddess of the hearth and home.

Holscher Painting of Vestal Virgins
"In the Temple of Vesta" by C. Hölscher, 1902

The Romans believed if the sacred flame was kept lit, Rome would stand.

Women in Ancient Rome

Here is a very interesting piece of ancient Rome history. The vestal virgins were chosen by the high priest as children and were asked to be kept virgins. This was the only order of priestesses in Rome.

It was quite an honor to be chosen. The vestals were even allowed to attend political meetings and trials and were given honorary places at the Colosseum in Rome for the gladiator games.

The vestal virgins took a 30 year vow of chastity after which time she would receive a large dowry and could marry. If she was caught breaking this vow, she would be literally buried alive with a loaf of bread and an oil lamp.

House of the Vestal Virgins

This building was discovered in 1883. There is a large courtyard or atrium surrounded by a two story portico.

The Roman Forum House of the Vestal Virgins

This is where the six virgins lived that tended to the "home fires".

Some of the rooms had beautiful mosaics and floors of multi-colored marble in geometric shapes.

In the courtyard are the statues of the Vestales Maximate or head vestals with inscriptions of the vestals virtues on the pedestals.

The Roman Forum House of the Vestal Virgin Statues
Vestal Virgin Statues Nickbigd

The design of the Vestal Virgins House was used for medieval convents and monasteries.

Make sure and check out the other stops on the walking tour of the Roman Forum. Also, learn about other ancient Rome attractions and more sightseeing in Rome ideas including Vatican City Rome.

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