Roman Forum

Rome, Italy

The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. It was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million sightseers yearly.

Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum. The Roman kingdom's earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.

Other archaic shrines to the northwest, such as the Umbilicus Urbis and the Vulcanal (Shrine of Vulcan), developed into the Republic's formal Comitium (assembly area). This is where the Senate - as well as Republican government itself - began. The Senate House, government offices, tribunals, temples, memorials and statues gradually cluttered the area.

Over time the archaic Comitium was replaced by the larger adjacent Forum and the focus of judicial activity moved to the new Basilica Aemilia (179 BC). Some 130 years later, Julius Caesar built the Basilica Julia, along with the new Curia Julia, refocusing both the judicial offices and the Senate itself. This new Forum, in what proved to be its final form, then served as a revitalized city square where the people of Rome could gather for commercial, political, judicial and religious pursuits in ever greater numbers.

Many of the Forum's monuments were originally built in the periods of the Kingdom (753 BC - 509 BC) and the Republic (509 BC - 27 BC), although most were destroyed and rebuilt several times. The existing ruins generally date from the Imperial period ( 7 BC - 476 AD).

Eventually much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures (Trajan's Forum and the Basilica Ulpia) to the north. The reign of Constantine the Great saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex - the Basilica of Maxentius (312 AD). This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire almost two centuries later.

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Address

Via in Miranda 15, Rome, Italy
See all sites in Rome

Details

Founded: 8th century BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Larry Ford (16 months ago)
A must see in Rome. Makes you feel like you are walking down 2000 - 3000 year old streets. Made you feel like Cesar would walk around the corner any minute. There is so much to see . Spend some time here.
Fahim Ahmed (16 months ago)
This is one of the must see place in Rome. It's next to Colosseum. You can use the same time of Colosseum to visit here. The queue at entrance is long. However it's fast. It may take 15/20 min during off peak season and up to one hour during pick season. If you are in rush or don't want to wait - you may buy "skip the line" ticket both online or in person. Usually online is cheaper.
Lucas Dodd (17 months ago)
The atmosphere is amazing! So many people walk through here full of excitement and energy. Street artists and performances engage you. The awe and history of the architectural marvels delight your senses! Don’t miss it! This was my second visit to Rome in one year! Amazing!
Arnav Singh (17 months ago)
The atmosphere is amazing! So many people walk through here full of excitement and energy. Street artists and performances engage you. The awe and history of the architectural marvels delight your senses! Don’t miss it! This was my second visit to Rome in one year! Amazing!
John Dunn (18 months ago)
Walking the roman forum is truly magical. Knowing this was the heart of one of the greatest cities of the ancient world made seeing the site really special. For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history
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