The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) one of several marketplaces of ancient Rome, is another popular tourist attraction worth visiting.
Admission to the site is included with an entrance ticket to the nearby Colosseum and Palatine Hill.
Established in the 7th century BC on the site of a former swamp, this historic public square known to the Romans as the Forum Magnum (Large Market) was the center of the cities economic, social, political, and religious activities.
Quarried for its stone and marble, the square – which once boasted statues, grandiose temples and monuments – is now basically a pile of rocks with remnants of building foundations and columns surrounding the occasional intact structure.
Among these ruins, you’ll see:
The Arch of Titus – erected by EmperorDomitian in honor of his brother Titus, this 1st-century AD triumphal arch situated at the entrance to the Forum, is decorated with carvings commemorating the Roman conquest of Jerusalem.
The House of the Vestal Virgins – located adjacent to the Temple of Vesta, this site served as the residence of the priestesses and featured a double colonnaded peristyle, mosaic tile floors, an oven, baths, mill, and office.
The Temple of Vesta – originally constructed in the 7th century BC, this ancient circular temple dedicated to the goddessVestaonce housed the sacred flame guarded by priestesses known as the Vestal Virgins. The ruins here include a portion of the circular exterior wall and a few reconstructed Corinthian columns.
Temple of Castor and Pollux – originally constructed in the 5th century BC and dedicated to the twin sonsof Jupiter, this temple served as a meeting place for the Senate and for a time as a bank and the offices of weights and measures. Reconstructed on several occasions, the surviving ruins, which include three of the 38 Corinthian columns that once surrounded the building, date to the 1st century BC and the reign of Augustus.
The Temple of Romulus – built in the 4th century AD for emperor Maxentius, and named in honor of his son Valerius Romulus, this uniquely designed circular structure features the original bronze doors flanked by Corinthian columns. Parts of the building were incorporated into the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian in the 6th century.
Temple of Antoninus and Faustina – the mostly intact Roman temple was originally constructed during the reign of AntoninusPius and initially dedicated to his wife Faustina. Converted, in the Middle Ages, to a christian church dedicated to Saint Lawrence (Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Miranda) and centuries later donated to the Guild of Roman Pharmacists, the current structure features a colonnaded portico and decorative Baroque façade.
Temple of Caesar – built during the reign of Augustus in the 1st century BC and dedicated to the memory of Caesar, this temple featured steps leading up to the entrance, an altar, six columns along the façade, and a podium decorated with the navalrams (rostra) confiscated from the ships of Antony and Cleopatra.
Basilica Aemilia – formerly known as the Basilica Fluvia Aemilia, this civic building on the site of much earlier butcher shops and loan offices was constructed in the 2nd century BC and decorated with marble columns, floors, and reliefs.
Basilica Julia – constructed on the site of a previous basilica during the reigns of Julius Caesar (for whom the basilica is named) and his adopted son Augustus, this rectangular building was a place for meetings and social events. The ruins here include foundations of the meeting rooms (tabernae) and the double colonnaded portico.
Curia Julia – the mostly intact Senate building, constructed during the reign of Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC and reconstructed in the 4th century AD, was one of several curiae in Rome. Home – in the 7th century AD – to the church of Sant’Adriano al Foro, the building retains some of its ancient interior décor including carved reliefs, colorful mosaic floors, and pieces of the marble wall cladding.
Temple of Saturn – identified by its eight remaining Ionic columns, this temple to Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture, was constructed in the 4th century AD on the site of two previous temples.
The Lacus luturnae – the sacred ‘Spring of Juturna’ formerly part of a shrine to the nymph Juturna.
Umbilicus Urbis Romae – also known as the Mundus, this round brick structure dating to the 3rd century AD was believed to have been the symbolic center of the city.
Column of Phocas – a monumental column dedicated in the 7th century AD to Byzantine EmperorPhocas.
The Arch of Septimum Severus – a triple triumphal arch erected during the reign of Emperor Severus in the 3rd century AD commemorating a Roman victory over Parthia (modern day Iran).
You can enter the Roman Forum through the ticketing gates in front of the Arch of Titus on Via Sacra.