House of the Vestal Virgins (Casa delle Vestali)
Dating from the sixth century BC, the 50-room House of the Vestal Virgins complex stood next to the circular Temple of Vesta. Here the priestesses were tasked with keeping the sacred flame—the symbol of Rome’s eternal life—alight. The sparse ruins merely hint at the once-lavish residence of these virgins chosen from noble Roman families to serve up to 30 years, and are best visited with a guide who can help you interpret these and other significant sites in the Roman Forum. Most ancient Rome tours include a visit to this famous archaeological park paired with skip-the-line entry to the Colosseum and ruins on the Palatine Hill.
Things to know before you go
- House of the Vestal Virgins is located in the Roman Forum, an outdoor archaeological site. Wear a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes when visiting.
- The Forum is a must for Roman history buffs, and can be fun for kids if visited with a family-friendly tour.
- The archaeological park is accessible to wheelchair users via an elevator at the entrance, though the ruins are spread across rough terrain and only a portion is easy to navigate with a wheelchair.
How to get there
The Roman Forum is located opposite the Colosseum and Palatine Hill in the center of Rome. The nearest metro station is Colosseo on metro line B, which also stops at the main Termini train station.
When to get there
There is no shade in the Roman Forum, so early morning or late afternoon is the best time to avoid the midday heat and crowds. The archaeological park is often less crowded midweek than on the weekends.
House of the Vestal Virgins Highlights
The remains of the House of the Vestal Virgins today primarily date from AD 64, as the original residence was destroyed by fire. Follow the ancient Via Nova from Palatine Hill to the Temple of Vesta, and view the remains of the large atrium, 2-story portico, and a series of statues of the Vestal Virgins.
- Temple of Caesar (Tempio di Cesare)
- Santi Cosma e Damiano Church (Chiesa dei Santi Cosma e Damiano)
- Roman Forum (Foro Romano)
- Arch of Titus (Arco di Tito)
- Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
- Ancient Rome
- Trajan's Column (Colonna di Traiano)
- House of Livia (Casa di Livia)
- House of Augustus (Casa di Augusto)
- Palatine Museum (Museo del Palatino)
- Capitoline Hill and Museums (Campidoglio e Musei Capitolini)
- Domus Augustana
- Piazza del Campidoglio
- Palatine Hill (Palatino)