Antoninus and Faustina Temple – Rome, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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Antoninus and Faustina Temple

An ancient Roman temple first dedicated to an emperor's wife is now a church.  

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The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina was a Roman temple located in the area now known as the Roman Forum, a large archaeological site in the middle of the city of Rome.

Construction on the temple began around 141 CE by Emperor Antoninus Pius to celebrate the memory of his late wife Faustina. It was later dedicated to the emperor himself following his death. The building was transformed into a church around the 7th-century and became known as the Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda.

The origin of the name Miranda is still unclear. It may have come from the name of a benefactress or from the Latin word mirare (to look). This term indicated that from the church, a beautiful view of the forum could be enjoyed.

The portico of the original building, with eight large Corinthian columns, can still be seen in front of the entrance. The entire church was placed in what was once was the cella of the temple. The church was restored many times during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, with multiple additions and removals. Excavations in the area during the 19th and 20th-centuries resulted in the church being just a few meters above the surrounding area.