The Temple of Vesta, the Roman hearth-goddess, was the center of the State cult, situated in front of the Atrium of the Vestal Virgins, her attendants, and near the Regia, the residence of the Pontifex Maximus, in the center of the Roman Forum. The temple was round, resemblling the ancient round huts which were the earliest habitation on the Palatine. Inside the temple burned a sacred flame, which the Vestals were charged to keep lit, on pain of punishment. At the Vestalia (June 9), the temple was cleaned by the Vestals with water from the sacred spring of Egeria. The temple contained no image of the goddess, but curtained off within was a restricted area, the penus or inner sanctuary, which held sacred objects, among them the Palladium. To visit the Temple of Vesta and learn about the Vestals, click here.