The Tempio di Minerva, perfectly preserved throughout its great elevation, represents the most intact Roman building in the entire region.
Beside the visit of the Temple, it is also worth enjoying the area below Piazza del Comune, where recent development works have made enjoyable a large portion of the platform (contemporary to the Roman urban planning) that supports the monumental terrace walls of the temple.
Renamed as the “Chiesa di S. Maria Sopra Minerva”, the temple presents a narrow hexastyle entrance hall: it is formed by a single row of six Corinthian columns placed on high plinths, inserted into the body of the access stairway.
On the architrave, some fixing holes of bronze letters are visible. This is actually a dedicatory inscription to those who built the temple: the brothers Gneo Cesio Tirone and Tito Cesio Prisco, supreme magistrates of the municipality around 30 B.C. The temple, contrary to its name, was originally dedicated to the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) – as suggested by the dedication on the small shrine that once occupied the centre of the terrace below. This can be visited in the area of the Roman Forum museum.
The current inner appearance of the church, that started to be used for worship in 1539 at the behest of Pope Paolo III, dates back to the XVII–XVIII Centuries; in 1634, it was raised and extended to a design by Giacomo Giorgetti. The vault was entirely frescoed in the mid XVIII Century by Francesco Appiani, who realized the Glory of S. Filippo and the Theological and Cardinal Virtues. The two side altars are from the same period: Pietro Carattoli, instead, designed the choir and the arches. The altar on the right is decorated with the canvas Death of S. Andrea Avellino by Anton Maria Garbi, while the altar on the left shows the Death of S. Giuseppe painted by Martin Knoeller. Finally, the main altar is decorated with some valuable XVII Century stuccoes.