The Temple of Divus Antoninus Pius and Diva Faustina, which stands in the Forum, was originally built by the emperor Antoninus Pius (r. 138-161) for his wife Faustina, who was deified after her death in 140. When Antonius Pius died in 161 he, too, was deified and his name was added to the dedication.
The temple is readily identifiable by its facade of Carystian marble columns (40 feet high), six across the front and two more at each side. The beautiful sculpted frieze, of griffins and candelabra, is still well preserved at the sides. The front steps were originally made of marble and ran the whole length of the façade, with an altar in the middle.
The temple’s excellent state of preservation is due to the fact that in the 7th or 8th century a church (San Lorenzo in Miranda) was installed in the cella. In 1429/30 Pope Martin V (r. 1417-31) gave the church to the Collegio degli Speziali (College of Chemists and Herbalists), who were responsible for the processing and sale of medicinal herbs. The present-day Collegio Chimico Farmaceutico is the direct descendent of this guild and retains St Lawrence as its patron.
In 1601 the Roman architect Orazio Torriani (1578-1657) was commissioned to rebuild San Lorenzo in Miranda and his is the church we see today.