Forum Romanum - an ancient square in the centre of Rome
Location show on map
Date of build
From 8 BC to 312 AD.
Forum Romanum is a rectangular square measuring 250 by 170 meters. The forum is surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings.
The square is located in the centre of Rome, in a small valley between the Palatine and the Capitoline Hills.
Used for nearly 1400 years (from 800 BC to 600 AD), the forum was primarily a center for religious and secular ceremonies, home to many of the most impressive temples and monuments in the city.
During the reign of the empire it was also the centre of public life, a place of public speeches, gladiatorial fights, trials and trade exchanges.
There were many different forums in ancient Rome, but thanks to the presence of the Senate Chamber, it was the Roman Forum that was the most important of them.
Buildings in the Forum include temples, baths, banks and markets. Most of the structures present in the Forum were built by Julius Caesar and his successor Augustus.
In the Forum Romanum we distinguish 9 temples (Castor and Pollux from 484 BC, Romulus from 307 AD, Saturn from 497 BC, Vestas from the 3rd century BC, Caesar from 29 BC.., Venus and Roma, Antonin and Faustina, Vespasian and Consensus), 3 basilicas (Emilius, Yulia and Maximentius), 4 triumphal arches (Septimius Sever from 203 A.D., Titus of 82 A.D, The Church of St. Augustus of 29 A.D. and Tiberius) and other buildings: Regia of VIII A.D., Kuria of 44 A.D., Rostra, Tabularium and Seal Column of 608 A.D.
Not all temples are dedicated to gods, some were built in honor of great people, because the Romans believed that by building a temple and consecrating it to themselves, they became a deity.
The Temple of Venus and Roma was built in 135 and had dimensions of 100 by 145 meters. It was the largest religious building ever built in Rome.
The temple of Caesar is also known as Caesar's tomb. It is said to be the place where the ruler was cremated in 44 BC. Visitors to the cremation site lay flowers in tribute to the most famous citizen of Rome.
Legend has it that the Forum is home to the tomb of Romulus, the historical founder of Rome who killed his brother Remus. The Romans believe that the large piece of black marble here, Lapis Niger, marks his grave and the place where he was murdered by the Senate.
The largest hall of the Forum was Maximilian Basilica, measuring about 100 by 65 meters. This structure, built by the Emperor over 2000 years ago, is the largest building in the Roman Forum. Tourists can visit the remains of the northern nave with its three concrete domes and octagonal ceiling panel.
The tabularium was built around 78 B.C. and measured about 15 meters, part of it still stands today.
After the fall of the Roman Empire mainly in 410, the Roman Forum was abandoned and many buildings and monuments were destroyed, plundered or used in other parts of the city, including the Vatican walls and many Roman churches.
When the Roman Empire fell, the Roman Forum became known as "Campo Vaccino". (cattle field) because it was abandoned and overgrown with swamps.
The inhabitants of Rome drained the Forum area with one of the earliest sewage systems in the world, called "Cloaca Maxima".
The Romanum Forum remained undiscovered until the archaeologist Carlo Fea appeared in 1803.
The excavations to clean up the Roman Forum lasted for over 100 years and were completely dug in the 20th century.
Recent discoveries made by archaeologists show that there are more hidden treasures here. With the arrival of new emperors who ruled Ancient Rome, they added structures around the Roman Forum, such as the Temple of Vesta, the Temple of Saturn, the Arc of Titus, Rostra, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and the Curia, the Senate House. This has created layers on layers of historical artifacts and other discovered ruins. In 2009, archaeologists found new ceramic remains around the wall from the 8th or 9th century.
In 2009 a team of archaeologists made an incredible discovery during the work inside the Forum. The work on the wall made of Tufa limestone revealed that the city could have been built between the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 8th century B.C., well before the legend that Rome was founded in 753 B.C.
The Romanum Forum attracts over 4.5 million tourists every year.
"I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble." - Augustus, Roman emperor