The Roman Forum represented the real beating heart of Ancient Rome. It was an extraordinary complex of temples, basilicas and public spaces full of life.
It is one of the most visited monuments in the city but it is not so easy to appreciate because you need to have a good imagination and good knowledge of Roman history to really understand place.
You will walk in the footsteps of Julius Caesar and other legendary figures in Roman history.
- Walk along the main street of Ancient Rome, the Via Sacra
- Imagine life during the time of Ancient Rome
- Discover the House of the Vestal Virgins where Rome’s eternal flame burned
Roman Forum: Info, tickets and fares
The Roman Forum Romanum has three entrances:
- Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6
- Via di San Gregorio.
- Via dei Fori Imperiali
You can also visit the Roman Forum through the Palatine.
Line B – Stop “Colosseum”
- March 1 – March 26: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- March 27 – August 31: 9:00 a.m. – 7:15 p.m.
- September 1 – September 30: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Oct. 1 – Oct. 30: 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- October 31 – December 31: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Closed: January 1 and December 25
Also included with these tickets is admission to the nearby ancient sites of the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. You can skip the queues and also download a digital guide to learn more about the Roman Forum.
Some details to remember:
- Tickets are valid for two days (including the activation day).
- Re-entry is not possible once you leave the site.
- The Palatine is open from 10:00 am to 7:15 pm. While both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are open from 09:00 to 16:30. Last admission is one hour before closing.
- You should head toward the entrance of Via dei Fori Imperiali to enter the Roman Forum.
- You can choose from 5 tour routes, ranging from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours.
Roma Tourist Card: cultural tourism card of Rome
To get the most out of your visit to Rome, it is very advantageous to purchase the Roma Tourist Card.
In addition to access to the Roman Forum, you can also visit other famous Roman attractions with the same pass: skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel; a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica; and entrance to the Pantheon with an audio guide.
Just select the dates of your stay in Rome and you will receive your tickets directly via Email.
Important ticket information:
- Includes priority access.
- The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican and Sistine Chapel are the included attractions.
- It is a digital pass.
- The Rome Tourist Card has no time limit, can be used and remains valid for the entire stay.
- Booking a time slot works the same way as the previous two tickets.
Roman Forum: what to see and what to do
The Roman Forum began to be built in the 7th century B.C. developing over the centuries to become the social hub of political and commercial social activities of the Roman Empire.
At the beginning of the Republic, the forum was a large square with many activities such as stores, food stalls, temples, and the senate house.
But then in the 2nd century B.C. it was decided that Rome needed a more institutional center, and the elementary stalls were replaced by financial centers and courts.
The Forum represented the official center of the city during the empire.
Successive emperors repeatedly renovated the old buildings and built a new temples and monuments.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the forum also fell into disrepair, and during the Middle Ages it was used as pasture land, as well as being plundered and used as a quarry for building materials.
Excavations to unearth these extraordinary historical artifacts began in the 18th and 19th centuries and are still ongoing.
The suggested sightseeing itinerary begins in the western sector at the Largo Della salaria vecchia entrance and continues eastward from the temple of vesta.
The Sacred Way
Upon entering the Roman Forum try to get your bearings and start exploring the Via Sacra.
It was the best-known road in ancient Rome that runs through the heart of the Forum and along which victorious emperors and generals rode in procession to give thanks to the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol.
The Curia is the large cube-shaped building located at the western end of the Basilica Emilia.
The Curia was built by order of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. as part of the work to enlarge the Roman Forum.
What you see today is actually a reconstruction from the 3rd century AD erected by Emperor Diocletian, as the building was destroyed by fire in 283 AD.
In the Middle Ages the structure was converted into a church, which is why it was spared from looting and destruction as many other buildings in the forum were.
Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius
The Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius was the largest building in the Forum and was used for the administration of Justice and business.
Today three imposing barrel vaults remain of that magnificent structure.
Construction of the basilica was begun in 308 A.D. christ under the empire of Maxentius and continued by Constantine.
His of the Basilica measured approximately at 100 m by 65 m and was 35 meters high.
A 12-meter-high statue of the emperor stood in the apse of the basilica. The giant head, a hand and a foot are displayed at the Palazzo dei Conservatori.
Temple of Vesta and House of the Vestal Virgins
The most elegant Temple in the Roman forum was the Temple of Vesta.
It was a circular building originally surrounded by the ring of twenty beautiful fluted columns. It was erected in the 4th century AD where a much older temple stood.
This structure burned down on several occasions. The risk of a fire breaking out was high: it housed the sacred fire of Vesta, an eternal flame cared for by the temple’s priestesses, the vestals.
These women lived in the nearby house of vestal virgins, just behind the temple. This 2nd-century AD building was a very comfortable four-story building around a central courtyard. Most of the rooms today are in ruins but it is still possible to distinguish some of them.
Temple of Saturn
The Temple of Saturn is the oldest in the Roman Forum, dating from 497 BC, although the base and eight surviving columns are the result of a series of restorations carried out between 42 BC and 380 AD.
Saturn was the mythical God-King of the Italics who, according to legend, had reigned during the happy and prosperous Golden Age.
Every year, between December 17 and 23, Saturn was celebrated with sacrifices and feasts, the famous saturnalia.
During the entire time of the festivities the social order was disrupted, there was no longer any difference between social classes: slaves could dine with their masters, senators did not have to wear togas, courts and schools remained closed, and war could not be declared.
Much of the spirit of Saturnalian rituals is found in Christian Christmas.
The Regia is an extremely ancient and ruined foundation complex dating back to Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, who reigned from 715 BC to 673 BC.
Regia can be translated as “royal residence,” in fact the first kings of ancient Rome lived here. It later became the residence of Julius Caesar, who moved there in 45 BC.
Arch of Titus
The Arch of Titus was erected in AD 81 by Emperor Domitian to celebrate the victories of his brother Titus and his father Vespasian in Judea.
In fact, in 66 A.D., Jews tired of being harassed by unscrupulous Roman officials rebelled.
Thus broke out a war that ended four years later with the sacking of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, the fall of Jerusalem and the Jewish diaspora.
In the reliefs, one can still recognize the procession of Romans carrying the remains of the Temple of Jerusalem in triumph. The altar, silver trumpets, and the seven-armed golden candelabra are recognized in the spoils.
In the past, the Jews of Rome avit to pass under the arch, which they regarded as the historical symbol of the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora.
Curiosities about the Roman Forum
- In the darkest time of the Middle Ages, the Roman forum was used as a pasture for cattle; in fact, it was called the “Cow Field.”
- Much of the Roman Forum was in good condition until the 16th century despite earthquakes and fires. However, Pope Paul III ordered the looting and reuse of material from the forum for the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica. Needless to say, it caused incalculable damage.
- The Vestal Virgins were responsible for keeping Vesta’s sacred fire burning. They were obliged to remain virgins for all 30 years of priesthood, and if the flame went out the vestal responsible was scourged. If she lost her virginity she was buried alive and the male responsible was whipped to death in front of the Curia.
- In 667 AD. Constantine II, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, visited Rome and seeing the bronze and iron beams that held together the temples and basilicas in the Forum decided they would be of greater use in his war against Islam. Metal removal was a disaster: the columns and arches that supported the Forum buildings collapsed in the first earthquake.
- Much of the spirit and rituals of the Saturnalia are found in today’s Christian Christmas.
How to get to the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is located between Capitol Square and the Colosseum, near the Monti district.
It has three entrances: one on Via dei Fori Imperiali, one on Via della Salaria Vecchia, and the other on Via di San Gregorio.
Using the subway is recommended: take the subway line B and get off at the “Colosseum” stop.
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