One of the most popular attractions in Rome is one of the largest as well. The Roman Forum continues to expand with excavations and new discoveries of the ancient Roman city, but even today, walking through the Roman forum lets you experience a feeling of what life must have been like for those living in the prosperous town of Ancient Rome.
The Roman Forum
Located in a valley between the Palatine and Capitoline hills, the forum was developed in an area that was once a marsh. The Romans of old drained the marsh and the area became a bustling center of commerce and worship. The Forum officially contains the Roman marketplace, the business district and the civic center. It also includes temples, the senate house and the courts of the time. Following the fall of the Roman empire, the forum was reclaimed by the earth and covered in a grassy meadow. Cows even grazed over the forum during the middle ages.
Rediscovering the Roman Forum
As it was uncovered, the Roman forum ruins were just that – ruins. Stones were removed to be used in other construction and many of the original buildings are reduced to their foundations. The Arch of Septimius Severus and the Arch of Titus survived the destruction of time, but many temples and other buildings have only a handful of columns remaining to show the once grandeur and status of this central area.
Landmarks of the Roman Forum
A walk through the Roman Forum will bring you close to some of the most impressive ruins of the ancient city.
The Temple of Saturn was built in 17 BC and was enlarged and preserved over time. Even after being rebuilt in the 4th century, only eight columns and some of the façade remains of the building. During it’s prime, the Temple of Saturn was a place of worship and became the public treasury and a repository for senate decrees.
The temple of Antonious and Faustina is the best preserved building in the Roman Forum. The temple was built to honor the fallen wife of Emperor Antonius Pius in 141 AD. In the Middle Ages, the temple was renamed the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda.
The Curia, or the Roman Senate house, is the largest brick building still standing in the forum that includes a roof. After being used as a church until 1937, the only remaining aspects of the ancient senate is the Egyptian marble floors and the tiers that once held the seats of senators.