Roman Forum

Roman Forum
"Forum Sunrise" by photographer is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

JOH_4396

Italy · Roman Forum

Visiting Rome without walking around the Forum is like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. As you travel along the Via Sacra, close your eyes and imagine it as it was more than 20 centuries ago, when Julius Caesar walked there. It is one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the city, so it is easy to spend several hours strolling among its temples without getting bored.

The Roman Forum (Latin: Forum Romanum; Italian: Foro Romano) is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.

The Roman Forum was ancient Rome’s showpiece centre, a grandiose district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces. It was where religious and public life in ancient Rome took place. The Forum is, along with the Colosseum, the greatest sign of the splendour of the Roman Empire that can be seen today.

After the fall of the Empire, the Roman Forum was forgotten and little by little it was buried under the earth, although in the 16th century the existence and location of the Forum was already known. Like many of ancient Rome’s great urban developments, the Forum fell into disrepair after the fall of the Roman Empire until eventually it was used as pasture land. In the Middle Ages it was known as the Campo Vaccino (‘Cow Field’) and extensively plundered for its stone and marble. The area was systematically excavated in the 18th and 19th centuries, and excavations continue to this day.

Interestingly, the place where the Forum was built was originally a marshy area. In the 6th century B.C. the area was drained by means of the Cloaca Maxima, one of the first sewer systems in the world.