The Forum Boarium was once a busy cattle market on the banks of the Tiber River, with several temples as well.
This is Rome’s oldest forum - parts of it date back to the 3rd century BC. Its position on the Tiber River made it an even busier commercial center. The Forum Boarium (Foro Boario) was built in a central location between three of the ancient seven hills of Rome, with a vegetable market (Forum Olitorium) nearby.
Some of the best-preserved ruins of the forum that visitors can see today are the temples. The Temple of Portunus was rebuilt in the 1st century BC in its current location to be closer to the ancient Pons Aemilius bridge. The circular Temple of Hercules Victor dates from the 2nd century BC, and is a ring of 20 columns. At the center was once a bronze statue of Hercules, which is now in the Capitoline Museums.
Though this forum is across from the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which has the famous Mouth of Truth, it’s often skipped by visitors. Some walking tours of Rome’s ancient sights include it as a stop - especially those devoted to the city’s “secret” attractions.
The temples at the Forum Boarium are behind fences, so visitors can only view them from the outside. They are, however, open on two Sundays every month by prior booking with a special guide.