In the heart of Rome, ruins of ancient structures form a rectangle around a plaza called the Roman Forum, or Forum Romanum. In ancient Rome, it was also known by the name of Forum Magnum. It served as a marketplace and a meeting place, where events such as elections, public addresses, criminal hearings, gladiator games and triumph ceremonies (military celebrations by triumphant generals) were held. It was a busy place, teeming with the hustle and bustle of Roman city life.
The Roman Forum lies between the Palatine Hill and the Capitoline Hill, in what was originally a low-lying marshland. In 7 BC, the Cloaca Maxima, a sewer canal that ran to the Tiber River, was constructed to drain the marshland. The Roman Forum was not deliberately developed into a plaza; rather, its growth was gradual and natural, with the structures that surrounded it also gradually rising over centuries.
Before the Roman Forum fully became a venue for political activities, such as elections and judicial proceedings, area to the northwest was the central meeting place. This was the Comitium, known as the site on which the city was founded. As the larger Forum developed, political activity gradually moved from the Comitium to it. The Forum began to fall apart after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The last monumental addition to it, the Column of Phocas, was constructed in year 608 as a tribute to Eastern Roman Emperor Phocas. By the 8th century, churches had replaced the temples that formerly surrounded the Forum. In the Middle Ages, it completely ceased to be an important place of government and worship. It became a "Campo Vaccino", or cattle pasture.
Excavations of the ruins started in the 18th century, with the pace picking up in the early 20th century. Today, excavations still continue. And although most of the Forum's structures have been destroyed, remaining columns and stone blocks from some basilicas, temples and arches still stand. Among these surviving structures are the Arch of Septimius Severus, Basilica Ulia, Regia and Temple of Saturn.
The Roman Forum has become these days a popular tourist destination.
Open every day from 8.30.
Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, Roma, Italia
Everyday from 08.30. Please see the article above for the closing times.
Colosseum/ Palatine Hill /Roman Forum: single ticket. Full price 12€, reduced fee 7€ (for EU citizens between 18 - 25 years old and for teachers), free entrance (for 17 years old or less). Roma Pass can be used.