Results 1-10of 29 Reviews
Grimsby, England, United Kingdom
July 5, 2012
From journal Rome pt.2
Litchfield County, Connecticut
February 26, 2009
From journal The Glory of Italy
heber ctity, Utah
August 14, 2007
From journal City of Thieves
New Delhi, India
September 4, 2006
We walked from the Colosseum, past the intricately carved Arch of Constantine, up the hill to the Forum Romanum. The entrance to the Forum is yet another arch- the Arch of Titus, not quite as ornate as that of Constantine, but richly carved nevertheless. The Arch of Titus stands more or less at the top of a low hill, and the path beyond it dips into a shallow, wide bowl across which spreads the Forum. The path is dusty, stony in places, and bordered by trees and shrubs. When we arrived, in the late afternoon, a few crows were hopping about among fallen blocks of marble. Atop some of the columns sat roosting gulls.
Paths lead here and there, off to the left and the right, to each of the monuments in the Forum. We checked out some of them, reading diligently from our guidebook (you’ll need one, unless you’re part of a guided tour- there are no signs to say what the ruins are, or how they’re significant). The best-preserved of the monuments is the imposing Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, a huge building with massive columns; it dominates the right side of the Forum as you walk away from the Arch of Titus. Next to the Temple is another interesting temple, this one dedicated to one of the two legendary founders of Rome: the Temple of Romulus. It’s an unusual round building. Further on, to the left stand three slender columns- all that remains of what was once the Temple of Vesta. A sacred fire used to be kept burning here in ancient Rome by the Vestal Virgins, the much respected maiden priestesses of the goddess Vesta. Similar to the Temple of Vesta is another set of white marble columns- not quite so elegant, but again on the left. These are the ruins of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and opposite the temple is an opening into the Cloaca Maxima, the largest sewer in Rome. Beyond the temple, also on the left, are the broad steps of the Basilica of Julius Caesar, a temple built by Augustus Caesar to honour Julius.
Climbing up a slope, we came to the other end of the Forum Romanum- past the ruined Temple of Saturn, and up to the stunningly ornate and well-preserved Arch of Septimus Severus. Our walk through the Forum took us a leisurely hour, and by the end of it, we were truly impressed. This, like the Colosseum, is something that has to be experienced to be believed.
From journal The Pagan Pleasures of Rome
by Bear in Britain
Windsor, United Kingdom
November 9, 2002
First, don’t be cheap; pay to get in. Sure, you can see a lot of the Forum for free from outside. But you need to be down at ground level to get a sense of the size of these buildings. Only then can you really appreciate the drama of the whole scene.
It will also give you perspective on how "lost" this place was for most of modern history. Stand in front of the temple of Antoninus and Faustina, now a church, and its door will hover in space a full story above your head. Why? That was the level to which the Forum had been filled with mud and rubbish by the time the church conversion was made.
Second, pay the secondary fee to get up onto the Palatine. This is one of the seven hills of Rome, and perhaps the most famous. Before the empire, it was the most exclusive neighbourhood in Rome, packed with luxurious town homes of all the best families. Post-Caesar, the emperors slowly bought most of the hillside until it because one massive palace complex.
You get the best views from up here. On the forum side, you get the best view of how the Via Sacra formed a processional route through the area (You know the one … blockbuster parades, Gladiator and Cleopatra). It’s the only place from which you’ll get a clear shot of the pool and inner court of the House of the Vestals. And the views over the rest of the city are dramatic. On the other side, you get the only view of the Circus Maximus that puts it in context. (You know the one … chariot races, Ben Hur.) Only up here can you fully grasp how massive the place really was, and marvel at how exciting those races must have been.
The hill itself is a gold mine of sights. You can scramble around the Domus Augusta, the palace of the emperors, and marvel at the size and sophistication. It even had a private stadium. The nearby House of Livia is reputed to have remarkable wall paintings, but always seems to be closed. There’s also an excellent, small museum that tells the story of the whole Forum/Palatine area.
Third. Do a bit of preparation if you have time. Pop culture thrives on the Ancient Roman scene. Watch or read "I, Claudius". Watch any of the old "sword and sandal" epics. Try Steven Saylor’s "Gordianus the Finder" novels. This fictional detective lives on the Palatine in the late Republic. Saylor’s scene-setting is so accurate you’ll find yourself pointing to corners and thinking: "Gordianus found that clue, just there!".
From journal Rome: A frequent visitor’s favourites
by Ed Hahn
Hong Kong, China
August 20, 2005
I enter near the Colosseum along the Via Sacra. There’s a gate, but no entry fee. As a history major with 4 years of high-school Latin under my belt, I am in awe of being in this place where so many historical events occurred. You can see the photos I shot in my photo album. The heat does not stop me from visiting as many important sites as I can. Up until the 19th century, the Forum was used as a quarry and a pasture, to say nothing of fire, invasions, and general decay, all of which have detracted from its former glory.
First, I see the Arch of Titus erected by the Emperor Domitian in 81 A.D. in honor of his brother Titus’ victory in the war against the Jews. It is very well preserved. Next, I visit the Basilica of Constantine, or Maxentius. Maxentius started it and Constantine finished it and installed a statue of himself in the central nave. I, next, go to Caesar’s temple which is the spot where he was stabbed, and, later, his body burned after Marc Antony’s famous speech. It faces the Main Square, where legend has it Romulus and Remus came down from Palatine Hill and set up the market celebrated as the founding of Rome.
I pay a small fee to climb up Palatine Hill. It’s cooler and shady up here, but not very interesting. I return to the Main Square, and, with my imagination firing on all cylinders, stop in front of the Temple of the Vestal Virgins. This circular temple with its conical roof housed the sacred fire, which was kept active by the Vestals. As long as the fire burned, Rome would stand.
Next, I head for the Curia, the political center of Rome where the Senate met. I can almost hear Cicero delivering his speeches. I also walk by the Rostra, where anyone could speak to any of the citizens of Rome who would listen. The arch of Septimus Severus and the Temple of Saturn grab my attention before I climb the hill to the Campidoglio and walk back to the hotel exhausted and sweaty, but also exhilarated by what I had seen.
You can take a virtual tour at this website.
From journal Rome Never Gets Old
March 14, 2005
From journal Viva Roma! Summer 2004
October 5, 2004
The story is that Romulus and Remus were abandoned by their mother, a nymph and raised by a shepherd and a she-wolf. They founded Rome in 753 BC on the Palatine Hill. Romulus drew a circle and said that within that circle there was civilization. Remus went outside the circle and Romulus killed him. Our guide told us that archaeologists had indeed found a circle/city border that dated to the right time period, about 730 BC.
We started at the Capitoline Hill end, and passed the temple of Saturn, the open part of the Forum. We saw Julius' Caesar’s tomb, which we had missed before, and which people still leave flowers on, and saw the bronze doors of the temple of Romulus (not the same one as the one who had founded Rome.). These are the oldest bronze doors in situ in the world. We continued on past the Vestal Virgins, to the arch of Constantine and the Coliseum.
I found the Vestal Virgin's home, the Basilica, and the arches to be the most interesting, especially the arch with the story on it about the sack of Jerusalem.
From journal Roman Pilgrimage
June 17, 2004
If you go behind the building, you will have a complete view of the Forum and further away, the Coliseum. 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 splendor. 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 to Emperor’s August’s daughter), 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 priestress, 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 3.50 Euros and for that price you get a guided tour.
From journal La dolce vita a Roma.
June 5, 2004
From journal Easter Week in Rome