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Portico d'Ottavia Review
Looming over the Ghetto district, this huge porticoed enclosure, with a few surviving columns, comprises one of its most picturesque set pieces, with the time-stained church of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria built right into its ruins. Named by Augustus in honor of his sister Octavia, it was originally 390 feet wide and 433 feet long, encompassed two temples, a meeting hall, and a library, and served as a kind of grandiose entrance foyer for the adjacent Teatro di Marcello. The ruins of the portico became Rome's pescheria (fish market) during the Middle Ages. A stone plaque on a pillar, a relic of that time, admonishes in Latin that the head of any fish surpassing the length of the plaque was to be cut off "up to the first fin" and given to the city fathers or else the vendor was to pay a fine of 10 gold florins. The heads were used to make fish soup and were considered a great delicacy. After restoration, the lovely medieval church of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria has reopened to the public (Wed., Sat., and first Mon. of the month, 2–5; 06/68801819).
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