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No more free!
The Foro Romano is no more free.
1 Combined ticket for the Foro + Colosseo + Palatine.
See tips on "things to do" Roman Forum:
TICKETS FOR THE FORO ROMANO + COLLOSSEO + PALATINO at 9 € (full price) have now to be bought at the ticket offices (biglietterie) largo Salara Vecchia or Via di S. Gregorio 30.
Reduced price: 4,50 € for EU citizens between 18 and 24 years.
Free for EU citizens under 18 or more than 65 years.
FORO ROMANO - The heart of ancient Rome.
It seems to me that it is vain trying to describe here a place like the Forum when a well-known guide such as the “Michelin Rome” devotes ten tight pages to it! Best thing to do is to walk around, look in all directions, stop here and there to consult the guide book to find out to what corresponds such section of wall, such columns or ruin. I call that "humer l'air antique" sniff the air of the antic Rome.
My favoured walk starts on the height of the Capitole, then descends the staircases towards Via Sacra and joins the Coliseum. The return is even more spectacular with its superb sights on the Capitol with the back of the Vittoriano monument.
What strikes the visitor is the cluttering of this forum by all sorts of constructions. Already during the five centuries of the Roman Republic this place overflowed of administrative, legal, commercial and religious buildings. From this period not much remains.
It is under the Empire that the Forum fills up with temples, basilica, and triumphal arches dedicated to the emperors of which we see now some vestiges. This glorious period stops with the barbarian invasions of the beginning of 5th c. after J-C.
Rome becomes then the city of the Popes and the imperial buildings are transformed into churches. From the 9th century on the buildings on the forum start to collapse or are stripped off their ancient ornaments. The deserted forum becomes a sewage farm and cows feed on the meadows. During the 16th century the old forum is used as career for the construction of other buildings, of which the St-Peter Basilica!
Finally towards 1800 start systematic excavations by Carlo Fea who are continued during two centuries. It is only in the 20th century that the topography of the heart of ancient Rome is reconstituted such as the tourist discovers it today.
- Historical Travel
Roman Forum - Rome's ancient time machine
A good Forum book with the overlay will serve you well. The more you know of the history here - the more you will appreciate all you see and can identify here.
You will be transported back to ancient times here - with a book on the ancient site in hand and ample time to devote. I revisited the Forum and spent the better part of an afternoon comparing what now exists to the overlay describing what was where - when - and for what purpose. I was largely unaware of the people around (luckily, there were very few) and
You may even have an opportunity to see archeologists at work as many sites are very active - no doubt they continue during our lifetime and, in fact, may proceed for centuries to come as new technology is developed.
Photo 5 - The site where Julius Cesar was cremated and the bouquets that, even now, are laid in tribute. Don't miss it when you are there......
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) was the central area of the city around which ancient Rome developed. Here was where commerce, business, prostitution, cult and the administration of justice took place. Space where religious activities were conducted and the communal hearth of the city.
The Roman Forum was designed by the architect Vitruvius with proportions 3:2 (length to width). For centuries, the Forum Romanum was the site of the city's most important public buildings, such as the Arch of Septimius Severus, built in AD203 and the Roman Forum Rostra or platforms for public speeches. The reliefs on the triple arch represented many of Rome's victories over oriental tribes and the Rostra was decorated with prows of warships captured during battles. The Roman Forum became the spectacular showcase of the Roman Empire filled with beautiful statues and architecture.
The main sight of the Forum include the Arch of Titus (Arco di Tito), the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta, and the church of San Luca e Martina. These are all linked by the Sacra Via, the main road through the Forum.
Actually, to tell the truth ... 2004
... I first saw the great big white Il Vittoriano through the ruined columns of the Basilica Ulpia in the Trajan Forum. As I was coming down the crooked stairs.
So I wasn't immediately aware that sense of proportion and taste and style had temporarily deserted the Romans.
I just got this big thrill to see something so very very old.
Rome has so much history and so many layers it's hard to get things straight. But I believe this is much later than Julius Caesar's time and he did not stand here giving speeches and bossing the world around.
But at the time, I thought he had.
There's a statue of Julius Caesar across the road. He is my main man. When I was learning Latin at school we were given made up exercises to translate. So the Latin was correct. In my fourth year we were given a piece that Julius Caesar had written. It was not correct. But the personality of the man that wrote it smote me like an axe between the eyes. This man had been alive. And what he had written and thought and felt could cross history and reach me.
If I had to sum it up I would have said that pragmatism was his religion.
Overlooking this forum is a little boutique selling women's underwear of a very wispy and superior nature.
- Historical Travel
Ruins of an Empire
Once the Roman center of religion, commerce and justice, the Forum is now a jumbled maze of tumbled columns, ruined foundations, and churches erected on pre-Christian temples. It is not an easy place to visit as you need to either bring a very good guidebook, rent an audioguide or book a tour to make sense of it all. It can also be very crowded, very hot in summer, and tough on your feet but to walk the Via Sacra (Sacred Way) is to follow in the footsteps of Kings, Emperors, Senators, Roman generals and Vestal Virgins over two thousand years ago. This not to be missed - however you choose to do it.
Tickets include entry to Palatine Hill and Colosseum and are good for two days: see this link for hours, prices and other good info:
Best place to buy same-day tickets is at Palatine Hill where lines are shortest (see previous review).
PLEASE NOTE: the Palatine and Forum are considered ONE SITE, even though they are separate, so you cannot split your visits to these two; they must both be done on the SAME DAY. It is possible however to do these two on one day and the Colosseum on the next (or vice versa) you wish to explore the 3 sites over two days.
To help understand the maze of ruins before your walk, there are excellent overlooks from the Campidoglio on Capitoline Hill, and Farnese Gardens on Palatine Hill. Getting a handle on some of the more interesting sites before your trip is a good idea too so I'm attaching this website with lots of pictures and background on many of the remaining structures, and will include individual reviews on a few of those as well.
The Forum is hauntingly beautiful when illuminated night so it's well worth a stroll past the fences just to see it all lit up, or you might want to book an evening tour (not available in winter):
- Historical Travel
A return to the Roman era.: Foro Romano
The Roman Forum: With Athens' Acropolis, Gizah's Pyramids and Sphinx, the Roman Forum is a member of the Holy Trinity of Antiquity remains. It best viewed first from the overlook of the Campidoglio, where Rome?s city hall is located. If you go behind the building, you will have a complete view of the Forum and further away, the Colliseum. And it is huge. I guess that everybody looking at it is imagining how it must have looked like at the time of Rome's splendour. It was the center of Roman life, a place of trade, discussion and worship. The first thing you notice is the Temple of Saturn, whom according to the myth, after being banished by his son Jupiter, found a haven in the area, and offering its help to the king, made the city so rich that period was to be called the Golden Age and was remembered during the Saturnals, a wild holiday time for Romans. You can also see the Basilica Julia (dedicated by Emperor August to Julius Caesar who was his adptive father), the arch of Septimus Severus. The remains of the temple of Vesta (easily recognized by its round shape) where the flame of the city was kept alive by a cast of virgin priestresses, the arch of Titus where his campaign against the Jews and the sack of Jerusalem is recorded in stone. The list just goes on and on...
If you want to visit the ground, go down the hill and the entrance is on Via dei Fori Imperiali. The entrance is free but if you want a guided tour, it's 3.50 Euros.
The old ruins...
To the right from Coliseum you’ll find all the ruins and buildings from the Roman Empire, the Forum Romanum. Unfortunately I’m not a big expert on this area, as I’ve only stayed at the big street and watched them from there.
For me, therefore, Coloseum is much bigger and more important to see. But for sure I’ve missed something, and am wrong again… ;)
Forum Romanum was anyway the politic, commercial and religious centre, but has during the years been ravished by wars, fights and invaders.
UPDATE december 2007: Have been going through the Forum a couple of times now, and can't really stand for the text above anymore. :)
Be sure to read about the zone in a guide book before you go there though, and feel free to bring it with you while walking around too! Otherwise you'll miss the big part of it, as you won't know what you're looking at.
Don't forget to look down on the ruins from the Capitolium hill, as it gives you a nice view of the former Roman center.
- Historical Travel
This is one of those places where you can just feel the history. The Roman Forum is located in a valley that is between the Palatine hill and the Capitoline hill. It originally was a marsh, but the Romans drained the area and turned it into a center of political and social activity. The Forum was the marketplace of Rome and also the business district and civic center. It was expanded to include temples, a senate house and law courts. When the Roman Empire fell, the Forum became forgotten, buried and was used as a cattle pasture during the Middle Ages.
Much of the forum has been destroyed. Columns and stone blocks are all that remain of some temples. The arch of Titus and the arch of Septimius Severus still stand and are in good shape. Like many other ancient Roman buildings, stone blocks have been removed from the Forum and used to build nearby churches and palaces.
On the left you can see the temple of Antoninus and Faustina which is the best preserved building in the Forum. The Emperor Antonius Pius lost his wife Faustina. After her death the Emperor built a magnificent temple in her honor in 141 AD. This temple was changed in the middle ages into the church of "San Lorenzo in Miranda".
To the right are the three columns that remain of the Temple of Castor and Pollox the was built by the dictator Aulus Postumius Albino in 484 B.C. The three columns belong to the last reconstruction in the time of Augustus (6th century A.D.).
- Historical Travel
We spent a day looking over the early Roman areas; we didn’t see it all, but got a good overview of the area and what’s in it. Our day began at the Roman Forum, primarily because we had read a good VT tip that said the lines were shorter here than at the Colosseum for purchasing your combo-ticket. From what we saw, this tip was spot-on! We waited in line for about five minutes (remember, we weren’t there in high tourist season) but later we were able to bypass the very long line at the Colosseum; so we were very happy about all this.
How do you make sense of all the stones in the Forum? Best thing is to get a good audio tour or a very good guide book. I had done a good bit of reading prior to our trip and my copy of The Blue Guide – Rome more than paid for itself, but there was just too much material to try to read the book during the actual tour (hint: get the book a couple months before your trip and read up on it). So we downloaded the Rick Steves’ audio tour (free from iTunes!) and printed up the free maps (also on iTunes) and used that instead of purchasing the audio guides provided at the Forum. The guided tour was about 45 minutes long and covered all the highlights of the Forum – I thought it was well worth it! Hubby and I each had our own iPods with the tours so we were able to go at our own pace. This is a cost effective method if you are coming with a larger family and want to save a bit of money but still get a good history and cultural history.
Our tour began at the Arch of Titus (on the Colosseum end of the Via Sacra), which was nice since we were there when everything opened and most of the groups arriving were starting in the other section of the Forum, so we pretty much had the area to ourselves!
Highlights of our tour included (see additional tips) the Basilica of Constantine, the temple of the Vesta Virgins, temple of Julius Caesar, the Curia, and the Arch of Septimius Severus.
From the Forum area, you can walk up to the Palatine Hill. All our books told us we could also walk from the Forum to the Capitoline, but that was closed off (not sure if it was temporary or more permanent – it was just a simple chain blocking the access). Once you have had your fill of the Forum area, exit towards the Colosseum to continue your tour of Roman ruins.
There was so much more to see, some closed and some areas blocked by construction or excavations. The Arch of Septimius Severus was massive but due to excavations nearby, you could not get near it from the Forum side. Later in the week we made our way down towards the Mammertime Prison from the Capitoline and from that vantage point had a much better view of the arch.
Bottom line – go on a nice day and get a good audio guide or book to help you understand all that you are seeing. Purchase the combo-ticket if you also want to go to the Colosseum so you can save money and avoid the lines at the Colosseum.
- Historical Travel
An amazingly visible civilization that was the city center of Rome during 8th and 7th century BC to include churches, government, judicial processes, horse racing, gladiator matches, banquets and many other activities.
Over the course of several hundred years, civil wars occured and then floods brought debris that built up over Rome and eventually was buried. People left to find other places to rebuild and/or live. Rome essentially dwindled down to just a small community.
Rome eventually started rebuilding with the return of the church. The debrised covered Forum was escavated. Of course, this is the short story version.
We had a group tour of the Forum combined with a tour of the Colosseum. This was fairly inexpensive. As we exited the metro station at the Colosseum, we were immediately approached by people asking if you want to join a group tour. For €25 per person (in 2011), this paid for the entrance tickets to both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum and tour guide(s). This seemed reasonable to us. You can probably find a tour for less and I'm sure there are other tours for more. Advance reservations for tours are not necessary unless you have a large group and you want to stay altogether. This was convenient for us as we did not have to commit to a time or date of when we would see the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
- Historical Travel
The Roman Forum
You all know the history anyway. No need to repeat it.
A jumble of thoughts the first time I see it. I walk down into it, down the Via Sacra toward the Rostrum. As I touch the stone and the marble around me, thoughts swirling: Julius Caesar might have leaned against this. Cicero's hand might have touched this spot. Marcus Aurelius, Augustus, Scipio, Nero......
Suddenly these people seem very real to me, no longer comic book characters.
I've touched what they touched.
The Forum used to be free, now sadly, you must buy a 10E ticket. (This makes me sad, as I used to walk through the Forum almost every day when in Rome.) The same ticket is good for the Colosseum and Palatine Hill as well. Open every day, from 9 to an hour before sunset.
The Forum today
The first time I visited the Roman Forum (we won't count how many years ago that was!), there were few paths, virtually nothing was roped off and there were no signs to help you work out what was what. Well, signs are still few and far between but paths are clearly defined and fenced and you can no longer wander through the inner sanctum of the Vestal Virgins or stand on the steps of the Rostrum.
Entry is no longer free either, charges were introduced this year (2008). The current price is nominally 9 euros (plus 2 euros if there's a special exhibition on in the Colosseum - and it seems there almost always is!) but this covers entry to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum and the ticket is valid for 2 days so you don't have to overdose on ancient history all in one hit. Visiting the Forum first and buying your ticket there is a good way to avoid the often horrendous queues at the Colosseum.
If you want to make real sense of what you're looking at, you'll definitely need a guide of some sort - and a bit of pre-reading wouldn't go astray either.
Before you actually buy your ticket and go in, do make your way to the little plaza above the Arch of Septimus Severus (in the north-west corner) from where you get a real appreciation of how far below the modern street level the Forum is (up to 70 feet in places!)
Like so many archaeological sites, shade is almost non-existent, so wear a hat, carry some water and take a break in the middle of the day. You'll have to leave the site when you want to eat - along with the introduction of the new charges, bringing food in is no longer allowed - the days of a picnic in the Forum, a lunchtime favourite of tourists and locals, are over.
The site opens at 0830 every day except New Years Day and Christmas Day. Closing times vary according to the season but are timed to about an hour before sunset and the last ticket sales of the day are an hour before that.
Ruins, Statues, and Other Odd Things
Most everyone has seen pictures of the forum, and when you actually get there - it looks just like in the pictures. 'So why bother and go there if it looks exactly the same?' one might ask. Physically being there is like stepping into the past. It is impressing, it is overwhelming - it is a fusion of past and present, and one's mind begins to imagine what it might have been like 2000 years ago....
For us it was also a wonderfully nice stroll on a sunny afternoon - definitely one of the many fond memories to be treasured for a lifetime. Since our time in Rome was very short, we only had a couple of hours, but I would definitely recommend taking at least 1/2 day since the grounds are very large, and there is much to see.
- Historical Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
What a place!
A visit to the Forum was the first thing on our agenda when we arrived in Rome. We wandered around open-mouthed for about an hour and a half. I am sure this is overstating it, but we felt like we were ind the cradle of Western civilization. It is hard to imagine all that took place here, but it feels like you are walking where Nero, among countless Caesars, ruled, plotted and had lunch. In the photo is the massive Arch of Titus, celebrating the Roman victory over the Jews in 70 AD. It is also a reminder of the struggles of the Jews for several millenia and reminds us that so many of the problems, aninosities and sufferings of the past are still with us today.
You can see the size of this monument from my appearing dwarfed by it on the steps.
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