Roman Forum, Rome Overview

The Roman Forum, or what they call it in Latin Forum Romanum, is an area of ruins that once used to be a shopping plaza with several important government buildings, surrounding it. This was the place where all forms of public meetings, concerts, performances, law courts and public trials in the city of Rome were held. Elections, rallies, matches and other public events made this forum to be known as the most celebrated place in all of history. The offices that surrounded the forum gave it a touch of eliteness, at the same time a bustling place for recreation of all types. Hence it served as a major social, political and religious centre in the Roman empire.

Roman Forum is the site of Cloaca Maxima, one of the world’s first sewage systems that had let out the foul smell and made way for settlements. The Roman Forum extends from northwest to southwest from the base of the Capitoline Hill to the Velian Hill. The basilicas have been placed at various points - Basilica Aemilia in the north to the Basilica Julia in the south. Here are some great points to pay a visit to in the Roman Forum : 

  1. Arch of Titus: Built after the death of Titus, it celebrates Rome’s win over Jerusalem. 
  2. Via Sacra: It is the main pavement that ends at the Colosseum.
  3. The Curia: The building where most of the Senate meetings were held and several political decisions were taken.
  4. Arch of Septimius Severus: The arch was made in the memory of and as a gratitude to the great Emperor Septimius Severus.
  5. Temple of Antoninus
  6. Temple of Faustina

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The original site was initially a plain marshy burial ground, however became a meeting place for the recently formed alliance between Romulus, the first emperor of Rome and Titus Tatius as the region came between the two kingdoms. After that the forum started as being a small marketplace for the travellers. The market grew subsequently and got transformed into a shopping plaza. As other forms of public events starting happening here, many offices and workspaces began settling around due to the market area. 

Rome’s second king, Numa Pompilius started building palaces, houses and temples that served as a place for senate meetings. Slowly the senate began purchasing the private homes for public purposes after looking at the growing popularity of the place.

Basilicas were built in the forum by Marcus Porcius Cato in 184 BC where several catholic meetings and masses began to take place. 

Julius Caesar was also cremated here after his assasination in 44 BC at a temple called Tempio Di Guilio Cesare. The forum became a place where several assassinations happened, including the one of Galba - a Roman Emperor in 69 AD.

Constantine The Great built the Basilica of Maxentius, which is regarded as the last attempt in the expansion of the forum. 

Through subsequent years, the quality of old buildings started deteriorating and began collapsing. After a few centuries, only the ruins remained left of what was a great social hub.

How to Reach the Roman Forum

Take the train to the nearest metro station - Colosseo,  line B (blue). Once there the forum is at a walking distance

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