An ancient plaza home to the ruins of important government buildings at the center of the city of Rome, the Roman Forum is one of the most accessible and well preserved ruins of ancient Rome. A stroll through the Roman Forum feels like walking back in time to the glory days of the Roman Empire in the 7th century BC. Though the ruins have degraded considerably since, whatever remains of the glorious Roman Forum gives visitors a spellbinding look at the architecture and design prowess of Rome at the height of all its glory. 

History of the Roman Forum

The Roman Forum, initially a marsh that drained the floodwaters of the Tiber and the runoffs from the surrounding hills, grew over time to become the political, economical and social hub of the Roman Empire. 

It’s history starts with the foundation of Rome and the post-war alliance between Romulus (who controlled the Palatine Hill) and Titus Tatius, the king of the Sabines who occupied the Capitoline Hill. After the wars were brought to a halt, the low lying land in between the two hills became the place where the people from the two kingdoms met. The walls between the two kingdoms were torn down and the area began functioning as an open-air marketplace. Eventually, the forum outgrew its role as a marketplace and became the center of civil trials, political speeches and other public affairs.

The earliest temples to be built in the Roman Forum were the Temple of Saturn, the Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Temple of Concord in the 5th century BC. In the 80s BC, the plaza was raised by almost a meter and paved by marble stones. The Roman Forum only reached its final form under Augustus Caesar when he constructed the Temple of Divus Iulius and the Arch of Augustus in 29 BC.

What To See At The Roman Forum

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

An ancient Roman temple located in the Roman Forum, the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina was dedicated to the Emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina the Elder. The temple was converted into a Roman Catholic church in the seventh century and remains to be one of the best preserved ancient temples of Rome.

Temple of Saturn

A Roman temple dedicated to the god Saturn, the Temple of Saturn was located at the foot of the Capitoline Hill at the western end of the Roman Forum. The temple was constructed in 497 BC but presently only the remains of the front porch are left standing. The original design included the statue of the god in the interior was veiled and equipped with a scythe.

Arch of Septimius Severus

Located at the northwest end of the Roman Forum, the Arch of Septimius Severus is a striking, white marble triumphal arch. Constructed to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus, the arch was built in 203 AD and raised on a travertine base. A major portion of the arch remains to date offering visitors a fabulous peek at fine Roman craftsmanship.

Temple of Vesta

An ancient edifice located near the Regia and the House of the Vestal Virgins in the Roman Forum, the Temple of Vesta features a circular footprint. While most of the temple has been damaged over time, the remains were reconstructed last in the 1930s to preserve its archeological significance.

House of Vestal Virgins

Functioning as the residence of Vestal Virgins, the House of the Vestal Virgins is located behind the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum. The complex is located at the foot of the Palatine Hill and was rebuilt several times during Roman history. Presently, only the statues of the Vestals remain in the Atrium Vestae.

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