The Area Sacra (Sacred Area) complex in Largo Argentina is delimited by Via Florida, Via di San Nicola de’ Cesarini, Via di Torre Argentina, and Largo Argentina. Four temples of the republican period discovered during the works performed in the surroundings between 1926 and 1928 are situated in the area.
The name of the square comes from the Torre Argentina, which takes its name from the city of Strasbourg, whose Latin name was Argentoratum. In 1503, the Papal Master of Ceremonies Johannes Burckardt, who came from Strasbourg and was known as “Argentinus”, built in via del Sudario a palace (now at number 44), called Casa del Burcardo, to which the tower is annexed.
After Italian unification, it was decided to reconstruct part of Rome (1909), demolishing the zone of Torre Argentina. However, during the demolition work in 1927, the colossal head and arms of a marble statue were discovered. The archeological investigation brought to light the presence of a holy area, dating to the Republican era, with four temples and part of Pompey’s Theater.
The four temples, originally designated by the letters A, B, C, and D, front onto a paved street, which was reconstructed in the imperial era, after the fire of AD 80.
Temple A was built in the 3rd century BC, and is probably the Temple of Juturna built by Gaius Lutatius Catulus after his victory against the Carthaginians in 241 BC.
Temple B, a circular temple (tholus) with six columns remaining, was built by Quintus Lutatius Catulus in 101 BC in fulfillment of his vow at the Battle of Vercellae. The temple (aedes) was devoted to Fortuna Huiusce Diei, “the Fortune of This Day.”
Temple C is the most ancient of the three, dating back to 4th or 3rd century BC, and was probably devoted to Feronia the ancient Italic goddess of fertility.
Temple D is the largest of the four, dates back to 2nd century BC with Late Republican restorations, and was devoted to Lares Permarini.
The church was called San Nicola de’ Calcarario, due to the presence in the surroundings of several ovens for the production of lime (calce), and in 1611 was consecrated to San Nicola dei Cesarini. It was demolished in the Twenties. The only Middle Age monument that survived is the Torre del Papito, situated in front of temple D.