Temple of Hercules – Cori, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Temple of Hercules

The ruins of this Roman temple dominate the small city in southern Lazio.  


The Temple of Hercules is the best preserved of all the Roman temples in the town of Cori, southeast of Rome, in the region of the Lepini mountains. 

It dates back to the beginning of the first century B.C., and was built during the age of Sulla in the ancient city of Cora. It’s a doric tetrastyle temple with four columns in the front and four columns per side, with a cella at the back. On the architrave is an inscription that names the magistrates who were responsible for the temple’s construction: Marcus Matlius and Lucius Turpilius. 

It has been traditionally attributed to Hercules by local lore, but it’s more definitive that it was a source of inspiration for great artists such as Piranesi, Raphael, and many others who visited Cori during the age of the Grand Tour. For this reason, there a number of sketches, paintings, and drawings depicting the temple prior to the Allied bombings during World War II. 

The temple has survived a transformation into a church of Saint Peter—the belltower is all that is left of the church—in addition to the war.


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June 23, 2020

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