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.
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.
TICKETS FOR THE FORO ROMANO + COLLOSSEO + PALATINO at 12 € (full price) have to be bought at the ticket offices (biglietterie) largo Salara Vecchia or Via di S. Gregorio 30.
Price combined ticket (2013): normal 12 €; reduced 7,50 € for EU citizens between 18 and 24 years. Valid 2 days .
The combined ticket can be bought on-line at http://www.coopculture.it/en/ticket with a reservation fee of 2 € for print home ticket.
Free for EU citizens under 18 or more than 65 years.
Open all days from 08.30 H till 1 hour before sunset.
Closing times in 2013:
02/01 - 15/02 = 16.30 h
16/02 - 15/03 = 17.00 h
16/03 - 30/03 = 17.30 h
31/03 - 31/08 = 19.15 h
01/09 - 30/09 = 19.00 h
01/10 - 26/10 = 18.30 h
27/10 - 31/12 = 16.30 h
Attention: closed on 1/01 and 25/12 !
The ticket office closes 1 hour before above times.
The best and the most romantic way of discovering the Forum is to climb on the Palatine Hill by the entry located Via di San Gregorio 30, close to Porta Capena. The visit begins thus with the vestiges of the thermal baths of Settimo Severo at the South-eastern angle of the Palatine.
The entry of Palatine is to be paid for but it gives right to a combined entry to the Coliseum and the Foro Romano and avoids consequently the long lines at the Coliseum which can be joined by going down towards the Arc of Titus and the Via Sacra.
It is on the Palatine that Rome was born with Romulus in the 8th century before J-C, it is there that Cicero lived under the Republic and it is still on this hill that the emperors August, Tiber, Domitian had their residence. Excavations started in the 18th century and are still going on; they made it possible to discover the palaces Domus Augustana, Domus Flavia, Casa di Livia as well as temples of Cibele and Apollo and a stadium.
One needs some imagination to evoke the splendour of this site of the time of the Empire but the place is quiet and shaded by beautiful trees of which the famous romantic umbrella pines.
While moving towards North one reaches the Farnese gardens with a terrace from where one has an extraordinary view downwards on the Foro Romano. It is really a unique sight which no tourist, no photographer could ignore being in Rome.
Open all days from 08.30 till 1 hour before sunset.
Attention: closed on 1/01 and 25/12 !
The ticket offices close 1 hour before above times.
Tickets available at the "biglietterie" Largo Salaria Vecchia and Via di San Gregorio, 30 (also the ticket offices of the Forum and the Coliseum as the ticket is a combined one).
Price combined ticket: normal 12 €; reduced 7,50 € for EU citizens between 18 and 24 years old.
Free for EU citizens less than 18 or 65 years old.
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......
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.
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.
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.
If you've had any Roman history, read certain bits of Shakespeare, or seen the most expensive American movie ever made (Cleopatra: 1963) you'll know that Julius Caesar met a messy end at the hands of some very cranky Senators. What was news to me was that they didn't finish him off in the Forum. The building that was normally used for gatherings of the Senate - Curia Hostilia - had burned down some years before so they were using Pompey's Curia in the interim. This was part of a gigantic complex covering several blocks - roughly from Campo di Fiori to Largo Argentina - northwest of the Forum.
The Senators having fled the scene of the crime, the body was dragged by a mob of angry citizens (who had no love for pushy Caesars) to the Forum where a cool-headed Marc Anthony did some fast talking to transform the fallen dictator into a hero deserving of a noble send-off. Heroes being rather popular in ancient Rome, the mob settled down nicely, threw together an altar, grabbed whatever furniture they could lay their hands on, and built a nice big bonfire in which to incinerate Julius' sorry remains. The Temple of Julius Caesar was later raised on the spot. There's not much left of it but parts of some walls and rubble of the altar but it's an interesting little piece of history so give it a go.
The ruins are covered with a roof to protect them from the elements. It's the semicircular grey thing in the very center of the frame in the 2nd shot. Here's a website with some good background on the temple:
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.
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:
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: 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. While not open to visitors in the evenings, it's well worth a stroll past just to see it lit up. Best place to buy tickets is at Palatine Hill where lines are shortest (see previous review).
Being a Vestal Virgin wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
While you had free rent, great seats at the Colosseum, got to vote, own property, and had other cool perks, you were mostly stuck looking after a temperamental fire and doing housekeeping at the Temple of Vesta for 30 long years. Keeping that fire going was a big deal 'cause if it went out Vesta, goddess of the hearth, would have a hissy fit and remove her protection from the city. There would also be no community flame for the citizens to borrow from if their household fires burned out. If that happened on your watch, you would be flogged with whips tipped with metal or bone. And there was no fooling around for you, no sir. Caught making whoopie with some cute young Legionnaire? You were buried alive and he was lashed to death. Ouch.
The good news was that you were free to marry once your 30 years were up...although that wasn't much of a bonus at a time when Roman women had few of the rights and privileges of a V.V. It was usually much more attractive to continue living high on the Vestal hog you'd become accustomed to. Who needed a boring old Senator in a bed sheet anyway?
One may see the visible outlines of the atrium (center of the picture) and the remains of rooms in the house the V.V.s lived in. Battered statuary on the pillars are of senior Vestals, and date to 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The cult was banned, along with other non-Christian orders, in the late 4th century, and the house was turned into office space.
There's lots more fun stuff about Vestal Virgins on this site:
I come to bury Caesar , not to praise him."
So begins one of the most famous speeches of all time. Shakespeare put the words into the mouth of Mark Antony and had him deliver them at the burial of Julius Caesar. We don't know where Caesar is actually buried, but the Temple of Julius Caesar at the Roman Forum marks the place where his body was cremated.
Not much remains of the temple now, just as not much remains of any of the fine buildings that once graced this, historically, the most important of all the Roman fora (singular - forum; plural - fora). For more than 300 years, this was the very heart of Republican Rome, the locus of the republic's politics, judiciary, commerce and religion.
Given how important this place was, its totally ruinous state might be something of a surprise until you know that the process of neglect and decay began as long ago as the 1st century AD with the building of Augustus' Forum, the first of several new and splendid fora built by succeeding emperors bent on self-aggrandisment. The old Republican Forum ceased to be the fulcrum of city life that it had been. Rome itself began to decline and when Constantine moved the capital from Rome to Constantinopole in 330 AD, things could only get worse. The abolition of pagan worship saw the temples closed, stripped of their wealth and left deserted. Fire, earthquakes and the barbarian invasions of the 5th century AD all contributed to the decay and slowly the swamp that had been drained for the building of the Forum reclaimed the land until virtually nothing remained visible to tell of the splendours that had once stood here.
The excavations that began in the 18th century continue to this day and there is rarely a day when archaeologists are not working somewhere on the site.
The Roman Forum is a rectangular 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. It was for centuries the center of Roman public life, the site of triumphal processions and elections, venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches, and nucleus of commercial affairs.
Here statues and monuments commemorated some of the city's most notable figures. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archeological excavations attracting numerous sightseers.
Today, archeological excavations continue along with constant restoration and preservation. Long a major tourist destination in the city, the Forum is open for foot traffic along the ancient Roman streets which are restored to the late Imperial level. The Forum Museum (Antiquarium Forense) is found at the Colosseum end of a modern road, the Via dei Fori Imperiali. This little museum has a significant collection of sculpture and architectural fragments. There are also reconstructions of the Forum and the nearby Imperial Fora as well as a short video in several languages. It is entered from the Forum by the side of Santa Francesca Romana (No. 53 Piazza S. Maria Nova) and is open from 08:30 to one hour before sunset. Admission is 12 Euros.
Avoid to be there in the noon time in summer, as it will be VERY hot weather, just have ur breakfast early and be there in some cooler tempereratures ... One of the major "must see's" in Rome ... :)
The four triumphal arches in the area of the Roman Forum stand as symbols of one of Rome's most important traditions - the triumph awarded to their greatest heroes on their return to Rome after a military victory over an major enemy. In Republican times, awarding such a triumph was the prerogative of the Senate and was the greatest honour that could be bestowed, bringing with it public accolades that raised the triumphator to almost god-like status. Following the fall of the Republic, the emperors seized the right to grant triumphs from the magistrates, and they became more celebrations of imperial wealth and status and the arches that were built to accompany them were not only dedicated to such military victories. Although all the arches at the Forum were built in this Imperial tradition, they do honour emperors who were noted for their military successes.
The Arch of Titus is the oldest survivor. Built by the emperor Domitian in 81AD to honour his brother Titus' victories in the Jewish War that saw the sack of Jerusalem in 70AD, the reliefs of the inner surface of the arch portray vivdly the triumph awarded to Titus and his father Vespasian on their return to Rome, bringing with them the spoils of the war, including the menorah and other sacred items from Jerusalem's Temple, the only contemorary record of these precious artifacts in existence.
Titus himself can be seen in the opposite panel and his deification is portrayed in the central panel of the coffered underside of the arch. The main inscription on the arch tells us that it is dedicated to the "divine Titus Vespasianus Augustus, son of the divine Vespasian."
None of the outer reliefs survived the arch being used as part of a mediaeval defence system - the brilliantly white Travertine facings were placed on the arch when it was restored in 1821. An inscription on one side of the arch records this restoration.
Whilst you can no longer walk through the arch, you can certainly get close enough to get a really good look at the sculptures on the inner surfaces.
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.