Porticus of Octavia ~ Why You Need To See This Site In Rome

One of the things I love so much about Rome is that you can turn almost any corner and find yourself in the midst of some incredible set of ruins dating back to before Christ. Sometimes long, long before Christ.

Each of them seem to have a fascinating story behind them, and frequently you can trace that story across millennia to where we are now.

One of these sets of ruins dating back 2200+ years sits smack bang in the middle of Rome, mere minutes’ walk from the Forum, and although there will be literally thousands of people just up the street, you’d be lucky to find more than a dozen people wandering around and taking photos right here.

The Porticus of Octavia in Rome
The Porticus of Octavia in Rome dates back 2200 years

This is the Porticus of Octavia. It is immediately next door to the Teatro Marcello and leads you straight into the Jewish Ghetto, where you can stop for a glass of wine and some artichokes or maybe just a quick coffee on your way to somewhere else.

If you have my book Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things to Do in Rome: Beyond the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps you can find more information as well as a guide to what’s in walking distance from here in the Ancient Rome section.

A Very Ancient History

Back in 179 B.C a temple to the Goddess Juno was built on this site. Then in 146 B.C a temple to Jupiter Stator was built right next to it, and the two were enclosed in the Porticus Metelli.

Fast forward 120 years and Emperor Augustus decided it was time for some renovating and gave the complex a rebuild, naming it for his sister Octavia. This is the structure we see now.

The Teatro marcello in Rome dates back to before Christ
The Teatro Marcello in Rome may well have been the prototype for the Colosseum. It was built just down the road, 84 years prior.

Octavia was the mother of Marcellus, namesake of the theater next door.

RELATED POST: HOW TO ORDER COFFEE IN ITALY

Murder In The Family

Just to make things even more interesting, Augustus’ wife Livia is thought to have killed Octavia’s son Marcellus to knock him out of the running to be Emperor. Basically everyone who potentially came between her own son Tiberius and the  job of emperor mysteriously died, including in the end Augustus himself.

I go into this in the book – the story is fascinating and Livia is one of the two villainesses in my history of Rome. Of course there were more than two, but I give you one from ancient Rome and one from Renaissance Rome.

The Temples And The Art

In its time this must have been an incredible sight to see. The Teatro Marcello and the Porticus of Octavia with the two temples would have all been gleaming in the sunshine, bright white travertine.

Porticus of Octavia Rome
In its day the Porticus of Octavia would have been all gleaming white travertine. Columns form the two temples dating back 2200 years still remain.

We know from Pliny the Elder’s book A Natural History, that both the porticoes of Octavia and Metelli as well as the two temples were full of art. Statues and frescoes were abundant, and the entire area would have been beautiful.

Octavia also built a library, curia and lecture halls in this complex.

RELATED POST: 10 THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO IN ROME

A History of Fires

There were two notable fires here, the first in 80 A.D and was repaired by Domitian. Then in 203 A.D there was another fire which had repairs done by Septimus Severus and his maniac son Caracalla. There is an inscription along the top that names both and also says Incendio Corruptum Rest, which means restored after a fire.

Inscription on the Porticus of Octavia tells of a rebuild by Septimus Severus and his son Caracalla after a fire
The inscription across the front of the Porticus tells of the rebuild after the fire.

In 442 A.D an earthquake felled the original columns along the front, which were then replaced by the arch you see now.

The Middle Ages

After the fall of Rome the beautiful Porticus of Octavia fell to ruin and became a fish market, remaining so until the late 19th century. In 770 A.D the church of Sant’ Angelo in Pescheria was built in the back of the ruins, Translated in means Church of The Holy Angel In The Fish Market

RELATED POST: 15 BOOKS SET IN ITALY TO READ BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

In my book Glam Italia! 101 fab I give you a breakdown of everything you are seeing and show you some incredibly cool details to look for, such as which stones are B.C and which correspond to the various centuries A.D.

You are also mere steps away from one of my favorite eateries in Rome, where I have spent endless evenings dining al fresco and tourist free. It’s all in the book – order your copy from Amazon today!

Want something else that’s really cool to do in Rome? I have a Free PDF of the Best Rooftop Bars In Rome. These are places with gorgeous views and wonderful drinks. Any of them are the perfect place to end a long day of sightseeing, taking in the sunset, the view and an icy cold Prosecco! Download your Best Rooftop Bars In Rome PDF HERE

HP Commission

Plane Gorgeous ~ How To Look Fabulous When You Land

Stand at the arrivals gate watching international travelers pushing their luggage carts through and you will notice most people look hungover after a long flight.

Their skin is grey, hair is all over the place, clothes are crumpled and they look well worse for wear.

But you don’t need to. After an entire lifetime of flying around the world, half the time having to bounce off the plane and straight in to a business meeting, a shoot or a dinner party, I’ve learned some tricks to help you look lovely after a long flight.

Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy available in paperback and digital on Amazon.com. Bestseller Italy travel guide

Hydrate During Your Flight

That grey skinned, beat up look that most flyers get comes from dehydration. Every hour you are flying the friendly skies you are losing an extra glass of water, so the trick is to keep hydrating before, during and after your flight.

It doesn’t hurt to add in some electrolytes from a hydration packet or an EmergenceC either.

RELATED POST: HOW TO SLEEP ON A PLANE – 10 TIPS FOR SUCCESS

This post contains affiliate links. Should you purchase anything through these links a (very) small commission will be paid to this blog to help offset the hosting costs.

Fly Makeup Free

Maybe you don’t want to cavort through the airport with a bare face, but either arrive with no makeup on or remove your makeup with some facial wipes once you take off. Wipes are notoriously destructive to the area around the eyes, so go easy on mascara that morning or don’t wear any. If you do have eye makeup on you do need to remove it gently.

Don’t fly overnight with mascara on. Even if you don’t sleep you will probably snooze a bit/go into twilight sleep, and those long luscious lashes you boarded with will look like morning after drunk girl lashes.

Facial Spray

makeup artist favorite Caudalie Beauty Elixir spray in travel size
Makeup Artists and customers alike have turned Caudalie Beauty Elixir into a cult favorite

Invest in a travel sized facial spray and spritz your skin throughout the flight. It feels nice, and helps your skin stay hydrated. Recommended product Caudalie Beauty Elixir is available in travel size at Sephora.com

RELATED POST: BUSINESS TRAVELER TRICKS – 10 Things To Know Before You Fly

Complexion Superfood

Apply a supersonic moisturizer either before your flight or after takeoff (depending on whether you board with makeup on). Weleda Skin Food is one of the most amazing deep moisturizers ever. Even after a 12 hour flight you will deplane with a glowy complexion.

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask is perfect for travelers
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask is the perfect travel companion.

Another option is Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. It wears like an intense moisturizer while you fly and leaves your skin beautifully prepped when you land. All three Summer Fridays Masks are available at Sephora.com

Keep Your Under Eyes Hydrated

The skin under your eyes dries out faster than any other skin on your body, so needs some extra loving if you are going to arrive looking fabulous. My latest favorite under eye product when I fly is this Cooling Water stick by Milk. It comes in a travel size and not only hydrates but has a very cooling effect as well.

Milk Makeup Cooling Water is the perfect undereye product when you travel. Hydrating and cooling it is ideal for long flights
Milk Makeup Cooling Water is the perfect travel companion. It both hydrates and cools tired under eyes, leaving your skin fresh and nourished. Available at Sephora.com

Allowing for the fact that every surface on a plane is a germ-fest I love that this particular product comes as a wind up stick, so your fingers don’t have to pollute your jar of expensive eye cream. It is the perfect travel companion.

Keep Your Lips Luscious

Another sign of dehydration is grey, cracky lips. Avoid this my using a good hydrating lip balm. I love the little round EOS lip balms. They travel well, don’t dry out and make your lips more cracked, aren’t too waxy, and if you apply a couple of times during your flight you will arrive with soft, lipstick ready lips.

RELATED POST: HOW TO PACK A SUITCASE LIKE A PRO

Before You Land/When You Land

Either before you land or in the space between de-boarding the plane and your bags arriving into baggage claim, do a quick tidy up. Quick as in under 5 minutes.

1. Brush Your Teeth

Trust me, your breath stinks after a long flight. A fresh, minty mouth makes you feel better, and shiny, clean teeth look 1000 times better than mossy, dirty teeth!

2. Avoid Foundation And Powder

Instead of applying base or powder gently use a facial wipe to clear away any remnants of the flight, give your skin another spritz and some moisturizer. It will love you for it. If you really do need some color support use a lightweight BB or CC cream

3. Groom Your Brows

Your eyebrows are one of the most important features on your face. Give them a quick tidy up and pencil in a little color. This draws the viewer’s eye up and away from your under eyes, and makes you look polished.

RELATED POST: THE BEST TRAVEL ACCESSORIES ON AMAZON

4. Luminize Your Under Eye

Apply a little luminizing color correction under the eye to neutralize dark rings and pop a little light off. My favorites are YSL Touche Eclat and recently ColoreScience Total Eye. Either of these will hydrate, color correct and brighten, leaving you looking fresh faced and lovely

5. Show Your Lashes Some Love

Lancome definicils mascara
Lancome Definicils mascara has been around for a while. It is a tried and trusted mascara that will probably be around forever..

If you feel so inclined add a couple of coats of a lash defining mascara. Nothing goopy or thick, just something to make the lashes look defined, lush and shiny. I have been using Lancome Definicils for the past year and love it.

6. A Bright, Bold Lip

The best trick to wake up your skin and look fresh and fabulous is to apply a bright lipstick. Reds will highlight the blue/grey in your skin and unless you are JLo will make you look more haggard and beaten up, so I avoid them when flying. My favorites are fuchsias. They are bright but don’t fight with your skin tone. Even if you just wear a hint of it.

I also avoid matte formulas when I’ve been flying as they can make already dry skin and lips look dead. I prefer a sateen or very low gloss.

7. Put Your Hair Up

Sometimes something as simple as a fluffed up high ponytail can add layers of glam to your look. If there is absolutely no redeeming my hair I will backcomb it a little and put it into a high pony. This at least looks fresh.

8. Palazzo Pants

Heads up ladies, palazzo pants or pants with a little movement in the lower leg are God’s gift to frequent fliers! For the past 10 years or so I have been flying in simple black palazzo pants. They are comfortable to wear, especially in cramped seating, but even better, they swish when you walk.

Miranda Kerr walking through airport in Palazzo pants

Have a look at your fellow flyers. Their clothes look bunched, wrinkled, and slept in. On the other hand a palazzo in a travel friendly fabric that swishes a little as you walk makes you look fresh and fabulous.

If you have read my book Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy: Secrets To Glamorous Travel (On A Not So Glamorous Budget) then you will already know about my FREE RESOURCES for travelers. These are downloadable PDFs that help you with everything from planning your trip to pre-travel checklists that help you to travel stress-free! You can download your FREE RESOURCES TRAVEL PDFs HERE


728x90 Get Quote

SFO Bans Plastic Water Bottles – What You Need To Know

Living inside the bubble of my regular life in Phoenix I’m really not so aware of how horrific the impact of single use plastics is on our planet.

trash islands off central america
Trash islands full of non biodegradable plastics destroying our oceans

When I am out traveling around the world I find it staggering. As such I do my best to minimize and eventually eliminate my personal use of single use plastics.

When I’m in Los Angeles I applaud the way they charge for plastic shopping bags at the supermarket, and how the population has adjusted to bringing their own shopping bags or using paper bags. I wish we had that here in Phoenix too.

RELATED POST: 8 Crucial Things To Know About Travel Insurance

One way I try to minimize my own negative impact on the planet is by using re-useable drinking bottles. I take them with me when I travel, and for the most part have done pretty well with it, although I cringe if I see a photo of myself walking through Rome with a plastic water bottle instead of a re-useable one.

RELATED POST: HOW TO PACK A SUITCASE LIKE A PRO

San Francisco Airport Pushes Boundaries

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is doing something about plastic waste and I am thrilled about it!

San Francisco International Airport leader in zero waste sustainability initiative

As of August 20 2019 SFO will no longer be selling water in plastic bottles or plastic lined containers. Instead, if you want to buy water you will have to purchase it in recyclable glass or aluminum bottles.

The airport has a Zero Waste SFO Program through which no restaurant, shop or vending machine will be able to sell water in plastic bottles. Unfortunately this doesn’t yet extend to soda, but at least it is a good step forward.

SFO Cutting Edge Initiatives

SFO is the first airport to take such progressive measures, but hopefully others will soon follow.

SFO already has other plastics initiatives in place. Earlier this year all the restaurants and café’s at the airport were required to change over to compostable or natural utensils made from paper, bamboo or wood if they were to be single serve items instead of re-useable ones. The airport also requires that single use plastic straws are only available on request.

Houmagic collapsible water bottle for travel
Houmagic Collapsible Foldable Water Bottle, Silicone Lightweight 10oz Portable Bottles Leak Proof, BPA Free, FDA Approved, Perfect for Travel

As extreme as these measures may seem at the outset, they become habit and before long you no longer think about them.

RELATED POST: ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ACCESSORIES

The Numbers Are Shocking

SFO has been selling 4 million plastic water bottles per year, a number I find surprisingly small. I can’t imagine how many a busy airport such as my own Phoenix Sky Harbor or Los Angeles LAX, Chicago O’Hare or Atlanta Hartsfield – Jackson must go through per year!

San Francisco already has plastic reduction laws and a 2014 ordinance banning the sale of plastic water bottles on any city owned property.

You Can be The Difference

Most airports now have filling stations at or nearby all drinking fountains, so for the last few years I have been bringing a re-useable bottle and just filling it once I have passed through TSA security check. I cannot board a flight without a full bottle of water. It is something I have always done, and although probably more of a security blanket than anything else, I have to have water with me when I fly.

collapseabe reuseable water bottle for travel
RSTime 800ML Collapsible Water Bottle,BPA Free Silicone Foldable Sports Water Bottles for Travel

Before understanding just how devastating the impact of plastic bottles is on the planet I was using refillable bottles just because bottled water in airports is so ridiculously expensive. But now I have a double purpose.

Join The Corinna B's World Newsletter!
Special Information For My Private Group Only

Join this private group to get special information about travel in Italy that doesn't get posted on the blog.

Private Group members receive newsletters telling them the secret stuff, from the restaurants I love to my favorite secret towns in Italy and much more!