Fortuna, Virtu, and Amore are fighting (‘Deh, nasconditi, oh Virtu’). Fortuna believes that Virtue is not worth anything anymore as no one believes in her. Instead, people worship Fortuna. Virtu tells Fortuna to go and drown herself; she is the true leader of the people, and it is only through her that people can ascend to Olympus to be with the gods. Amore argues that they are both wrong, for she is far greater than either of them, and they should both worship her. Fortuna and Virtu concede defeat. Neither god nor mortal is a match for the arrows of cupid, and the power of Amore.
Ottone has finally returned home to Rome, and after a long journey the first place he wants to go is to Poppea’s house (‘E pur io torno qui, qual linea al centro’) He is devastated to see it guarded by the servants of Emperor Nerone, which can only mean that Poppea is sleeping with Nerone in Ottone’s absence. He notices that the soldiers are sleeping at their posts, and takes a moment to
L'incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) guide sections