In archaic times the plain grew into an important trading centre, above all for goods arriving by water, with thriving cattle and vegetable markets, the Forum Boarium.
The Forum Boarium, covering most of the plain between the Tiber and the Capitol, Palatine and Aventine, contains two exceptionally well-preserved little temples in what is now Piazza Bocca della Verita. The Temple of Fortune, actually identified as the Temple of Portunus (an ancient tutelary God of Rome’s first trading port, the Portus Tiberinus, on the bend in the river), was erected in the early monarchical period and rebuilt a number of times by the first century AD.
The temple stands on a dry- stone plinth. The elevation is entirely made out of Anio tufa, except for the columns and capitals which are of travertine. The cornice is original and bears lion protomes. The so-called Temple of Vesta nearby is wholly made of Greek marble from Mount Pentelicus. Erected by a wealthy Roman oil merchant, it was in fact dedicated to Hercules, the patron of oil-sellers.
Ancient records refer to it as the Temple of Hercules Victor. It stands on a stepped stone base, with a ring of twenty Corinthian columns encircling a cell with the entrance on the east side. It seems to have been the work of Hermodorus, a Greek architect from Salamis active in Rome in the later second century BC.