Things to do in Rome

Discover Ancient Rome Within the Ruins of the Roman Forum!

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The Roman Forum was once the centre of ancient Roman life. A public square where political, commercial and religious activities took place, it served as the hub for major events such as gladiatorial contests and triumphal processions. The forum also featured many temples to the Roman gods and served as a marketplace for the citizens. Today, it lies in ruins but continues to draw a number of tourists every year!

Know Before You Go

Handy information

⏰ Suggested Duration:2-3 hours
☀️ Best Time to Visit:Early morning or late afternoon
🎟️ Priority Access to Colosseum + Roman Forum: €22
😍 Special Access Tour of the Colosseum + Roman Forum:€50

Getting There

Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy Get Directions

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 09:00 AM to 04:30 PM

Things to know

  • Basilica of Maxentius
  • Temple of Romulus
  • Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
  • Temple of Vesta and Eternal Flame of Rome
  • Mamertine Prison
  • Temple of Castor and Pollux
  • Arch of Septimus and Severus
  • Temple of Saturn
  • Temple of Julius Caesar
  • The Curia (Senate House)
  • Arch of Titus

Why Visit the Roman Forum

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The Roman Forum is a spectacular sight in the city of Rome, wrapped around land dotted with ruins. Known for being one of the most photographed areas in Rome, the sprawling ruins of the Roman Forum make for a very interesting study; these ruins are built on top of older ruins, in line with their tradition of building new buildings over old ones.

Once, the Roman Forum had temples, courts of law, public assembly areas, and government halls, all under its roof, and grew to be a centre embodying the political, religious, and social principles of Ancient Rome.

History of the Roman Forum

Human activity in the area that is now known as the Roman Forum dates to approximately the 7th century BCE when Rome’s Etruscan kings constructed the Cloaca Maxima, a sewer that drained the water off the valley. Today, the Cloaca continues to run under the Forum and drains water into the nearby Tiber River.

After the Roman Republic was formed in 509 BCE, the development of the Forum began in full swing. The oldest structures on the Forum that are still visible, even though in a ruined state, include the Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Temple of Saturn.

The Forum also had a ‘rostra’, a raised speakers’ platform, that allowed a huge crowd to gather and witness politicians orate. With the addition of new buildings, including the courtrooms, or basilicas, the Forum grew to be the hub of the Republic.

What to See at the Roman Forum

Basilica of Maxentius

Originally known as the Basilica of Maxentius, the Basilica of Constantine is a large roofed hall in Rome that was made by the emperor Maxentius and completed by Constantine during AD 313. This basilica turns out to be the largest building in the Roman Forum. Maxentius had commissioned the building as part of a larger infrastructure campaign. This wide-scaled project was used as an economic and political setup that was meant to act as a visual sign of the empire’s prosperity under the reign of Maxentius.

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Temple of Vesta

The Temple of Vesta is an ancient temple that held the ‘Sacred Fire’ and its eternal flame was guarded by the Vestals. Six priestesses were selected as children from important Roman families. Right next to the Temple of Vesta lies the house of Vestal Virgins, which was built by Septimius Severus. The ruins of the house are very famous and remain along with the foundations of the building.

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Temple of Castor and Pollux

The Temple of Castor and Pollux was built in the final decade of the 1st century BCE, replacing the previous temple to the twin sons of Jupiter that stood on the site since 484 BCE. Currently, only the inner concrete core of the podium along with three columns survive this massive structure. Castor and Pollux, as per Roman mythology, were the twin demi-god offspring of Jupiter and Leda and equivalent to the Dioscuri of Greek mythology. They are also known in the constellation Gemini.

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The Curia

The Roman Curia is a combination of the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body with which the affairs of the Catholic Church are held. It is an institution that the Roman Pontiff ordinarily made use of in the exercise of the universal mission and supreme pastoral office. It is at the Pope’s service, the successor of Peter, and the Bishops, according to the modalities that are proper to the nature of each one. They work for the good and at the service of communion, unity, and edification of the Universal Church.

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Temple of Saturn

The Temple of Saturn is an ancient temple in Rome that is dedicated to Saturn where its ruins stand at the foot of the Capitoline Hill at the western edge of the Roman Forum. The Temple of Saturn has a history that goes back to 497 BC, and the current ruins portray the third version of the temple that was constructed to replace the version which was destroyed by the fire of Carinus in 283 AD.

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Temple of Romulus

Set between two porphyry columns are the original bronze doors of the Temple of Romulus, deified by his father Maxentius in AD 309. The space opens into a rotunda fifty Roman feet in diameter and is covered by a cupola. It is now accessible from the rear through the Basilica of Santi Cosma Damiano. In the early 6th century, the temple was converted into a vestibule for the church, which occupied the southwest corner of the Temple of Peace, the first few buildings in the forums that were Christianised.

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Antonius and Faustina Temple

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina honoured the deified empress (Faustina), who predeceased her husband (Antoninus) in 141 A.D. After the passing of Antoninus, the temple’s cult expanded jointly to Antoninus and Faustina. During the Mediaeval period, the temple was revamped into the Church of Saint Lawrence in Miranda, and a lot of the monument was torn down. A lot of events that took place during the 15th and 16th centuries also resulted in impacting the temple’s interior and exterior architecture. Although the temple’s appearance may have changed over the past two millennia, the original columns and attic still survived. This monument to date is used as a church.

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Via Sacra

On visiting the Roman Forum, you will spot a lot of ancient temples and ruins in the area and a lot of these landmarks can be found lining one wide street – Via Sacra. The Via Sacra, otherwise known as the Sacred Way, was the main street that led travellers and citizens into the main region of business, called the Forum. This place was also used to inculcate the religious faith of Roman people to any newcomers, by displaying temples at the Forum’s entrance. The Via Sacra was situated at the centre of everything in Ancient Rome – as the heart of religious, government, social and cultural importance. You can stroll across the pages of time as you visit this most popular attraction in Rome.

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Planning Your Time at the Roman Forum

Choosing the right path

If you're planning to explore the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum in one day, best to keep the Roman Forum second on your list. This will prove to be least physically taxing and provides the best visual impact. The walk downhill is lighter on the knees from the Palatine Hill to the Roman Forum. Also, the view of the Roman Forum and Colosseum from atop is brilliant, giving an exciting sense of what’s to come. Since there is no entry from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum directly, the best option is to go from the Roman Forum to the Colosseum. This provides an apt and grand finale to end the day with - the magnificent Colosseum.

Beating the queue during peak hours

Visitors are enamored by the impressive Colosseum and often wish to start their day first at the amphitheatre and then head to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. However, this strategy comes at a cost. It means waiting in a long entrance queue, as well as additional travel from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum entrance on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. To optimize your time, it’s best to first head to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. Generally, the entrances at both of these sites have little to no line at all. Once inside, explore the areas before the sun peaks, and, when you’re finished, exit at the gate near the Colosseum (this would be after you walk through the Roman Forum). Since you would have already entered the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum areas, you won’t need to wait in the ticketing line at the Colosseum and can, instead, just make your way through the security check for a speedy entrance.

By exploring the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum in the first half of the day you will not only avoid the long queues, but also finish exploring before the mid-day sun is over your head. The entire archaeological complex of Roman Forum and Palatine Hill is outdoors, so weather should definitely be taken into consideration.

You can also do this by purchasing the skip-the-line tickets to the Colosseum.

Getting There

Timings and Hours

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are open year round. The gates are open from 08:30 AM until an hour before sunset.

Getting There

There are several options to travel from the city center to the Roman Forum. While you can always opt for a cab from wherever you’re staying, expect to pay a pretty penny. Cab fares are not cheap and it’s not uncommon for tourists to get overcharged. Instead, checkout some of the (cheap) public transport options below that’ll get you to the area easily and safely.

Line 51, 75, 81, 673, 175, or 204. Alternatively, you can take tram. #30, which has a stop at the Roman Forum.

Line 3

Line B “Colosseo”
The metro is perhaps the easiest way to reach the Roman Forum. You can get down at the Colosseo Metro Station on the B Line and then walk to the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill. The metro runs from 5:30 AM to 11:30 PM, Sunday to Thursday, and until 1:30 AM on Friday and Saturday.

If you have reached the Termini train station, the main railway station of Rome, there are two ways you can reach the Roman Forum/Colosseum/Palatine Hill area:

Via Foot
If you’re in the mood for a leisurely hike through the charming lanes of Rome, you can walk from the train station to the ruins. The average walking time is 30 minutes, so only go for this option if you have ample time on hand.

The Roman Forum Facts

  • The Roman Forum has got only one entrance, which is situated at the Via Fori Imperiali.
  • The Roman Forum is home to the tomb of Romulus. The story of Romulus, the one who founded Rome, is a tangle of myth, and folklore, so whether or not a historical figure ever existed is unclear.
  • The Temple of Caesar is sometimes referred to as the burial ground of Caesar’s grave but is the actual spot where he was cremated in 44 BC.
  • The Curia was the actual seat of the Roman Senate. It was from this very building those consuls, praetors, and tribune made administrative decisions on running the Republic and Empire.
  • Apart from just visiting the Roman Forum you can get a ticket to the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill on the very same ticket as they are situated right next to one another.
  • The Temple of Saturn is dedicated to the god of wealth and held the Roman Republic’s treasury, as well as the state archives.
  • During the late republic, violence was common during the meetings. Hence severe heads were kept on display. Cicero was among those who met with an ill fate and his head and hands were turned into a public spectacle.
  • The Roman Forum fell into disrepair after the fall of the Empire and most of its monuments were either plundered in exchange for stone and marble or buried under debris. Hence, during the middle ages, it was known as the ‘Cow Field’.

Insider Tips

  • Carry sunscreen if you're travellnig to Rome in the summer months; it gets hot!
  • Book your tickets to the destination online to move faster through the queues.
  • The view of Rome and the Forum is best seen atop Palatine Hill.
  • The entire complex is free for visitors on the first Sunday of the month; it will be crowded though!


What is the Roman Forum?

The Roman Forum, also known as Forum Romanum in Latin, is a rectangular forum that is surrounded by the ruins of various ancient government buildings at the heart of the city of Rome.

Where is the Roman Forum located?

The most important forum in ancient Rome, the Roman Forum is located on low ground between the Palatine and Capitoline hills.

How long has the Roman Forum been standing?

Plenty of historians believe that people began publicly meeting in the open-air Forum around 500 B.C. when the Roman Republic was discovered.

Are there any monuments or ruins remaining from the Roman Forum today?

The columns of the Temple of Saturn continue to dominate the Roman Forum. The remains of this temple are undoubtedly the most impressive in Rome and provide an idea of its prominence in the ancient city. 

What is the Roman Forum used for today?

In the current scenario, the Roman Forum is a very popular tourist attraction where visitors can witness the ancient ruins and architectural fragments that remain. Efforts continue to be in place to preserve the ruins. Excavations are in place in and around the Forum.

Are there any guided tours of the Roman Forum available?

Yes, guided tours of the Roman Forum are available. There isn’t much information on display around the Forum, and visitors tend to wander around. By going on a guided tour, you can make the most of your visit as you will get an insight into the history and architecture of the place.

Are there any restrictions or rules to be followed when going to the Roman Forum?

No, there aren’t any particular restrictions on visiting the Roman Forum. However, wear comfortable footwear as you will be doing a lot of walking to explore the space.

The Roman Forum Guide