Roman Forum and Imperial Fora

Roman Forum and Imperial Fora

Getting around through the splendid monumental squares of the Roman Forum and Imperial Fora means to make a dip in the heart of ancient Rome.

The Roman Forum was the center of activity during the Roman Republic, where citizens of all territories subject to Rome went to attend political, administrative and economic affairs, which concerned the community to which they belonged. Therefore it was adorned with monuments of exceptional beauty, which can still be partially admired, retracing the many unique historical events that took place here. On the right of the entrance you can admire the Basilica Emilia (179 BC), a business center, which was used for courts' sessions: you can still see the remains of its beautiful colored marble floors and the basements of its majestic columns. The Curia, seat of the Senate, was founded by King Tullus Hostilius, one of the successors of Romulus, but the current building dates back to the remake of Diocletian (303 AD). Further we admire the tomb of the legendary founder of Rome, Romulus: according to legend, he was the son of the god Mars and the Vestal Rhea Silvia, and with his twin Remus he suckled by a she-wolf. After passing under the Arch of Septimius Severus (25 meters wide and 23 high), we come to the Rostra, the traditional forum of speakers, where also Cicero gave some of his famous speeches. The plate in front of it, paved in travertine, was the heart of the Forum, while on the bottom, on the side opposite the Basilica Emilia, stands the Basilica Julia, built by Julius Caesar in honor of his gens.

Later the expansion of the Empire, the area of the Roman Forum was no longer sufficient to accommodate activities related to political and administrative control of the city and it was therefore necessary to extend it: the first structure to be built was the so-called Forum of Caesar, wanted by Julius Caesar and opened just two years before his death in 46 BC. Then we reach the Forum of Augustus, of which octagonal structure today we can only see the remains of the great temple, dedicated to Mars Ultor (=avenger), created after the battle of Philippi (42 BC), in which Augustus had avenged the murder of Caesar.

Among the available space between the previous two holes there is the square built by Vespasian, which housed the Temple of Peace, erected to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem (75AD): it was a sort of garden-museum, with tanks of water and numerous votive statues. Destroyed by fire in the third century, the area was absorbed by Domitian and Nerva in the so-called Forum of Nerva, which leads to the impressive and fascinating Trajan's Forum. Behind it, we can admire the wonderful Trajan's Column, which performs on its continuous frieze the deeds of the emperor in the war against the Dacians: it is a tale almost "cartoony" of unbelievable beauty.

The visit ends with the Roman Basilica Ulpia, the largest of the Roman period, which was built between 106 and 113 of the draft by Apollodorus of Damascus.

Opening hours: from 9.00 am until one hour before sunset.

Free admission, except some monuments specified individually.

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