At its height, the Roman Empire covered 2.5 million square miles (6.5 million square kilometers), but at the very center of the sprawling Empire was the Roman Forum, now a crumbling monument to the power once wielded by ancient emperors and their vast armies.
Though the Roman Forum site itself is reasonably small, it is easy to pass by a gem without realizing. The lack of information about the structures you’ll see is far from ideal, but you can pick up an audio guide for a small fee from a booth by the Arch of Titus, near to the Colosseum.
Points of interest around the forum include the front pillars of the Temple of Saturn (located at the northwest tip of the site), the oldest-surviving ruins in the complex, and the grand marble Arch of Septimius Severus, built in 203 to celebrate the emperor’s victories against the Parthians. Other popular highlights include the Arch of Titus (1st century), the Temple of Vesta and the Church of Santi Luca e Martina (both 7th century). However, with hundreds of monuments dotted around the site there are also lesser-known highlights to seek out, like the colored-marble mosaic floors inside the Curia Julia, the building in which the senate used to debate.
The best way to visit the forum is in conjunction with a visit to the Colosseum, as the ticket fee allows entrance to both attractions (as well as Palatine Hill). This ticket is valid for two days, so you can take your time to explore the site thoroughly. Bear in mind, however, the forum is only open until 6 p.m. most days during summer and until 1 p.m. on Sundays. There is little shade on the site, so sunscreen and water are essential.
Whenever you go, prepare to be amazed. It may be crumbling, but the moment you start to stroll the Via dei Fori Imperiali, you’ll see the Roman Forum remains as impressive as ever.
The main entrance is on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, but there’s another at Via San Gregorio 30.
The forum is in central Rome. Bus stops and the Metro train station Colosseo are all nearby.
Central Rome hotel housed in a late 19th-century building retaining much Imperial grandeur, 500 metres from Quirinale Palace and one kilometre from the Colosseum.
Set in a quiet 19th-century building, this family-run hotel is 500 meters from Rome's St Maria Maggiore cathedral, 1 kilometer from the Coliseum, and is opposite the metro.
Hotel Delle Nazioni is situated in the heart of Rome, just around the corner from the Trevi Fountain. This 4-star hotel is 5 minutes from both the Spanish Steps and stylish Via Condotti shopping.
This 19th-century baroque hotel stands on Rome's Piazza della Rotonda, opposite the Pantheon. The Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, the Spanish Steps, and Via del Corso are within walking distance.
Built in the 1930s, the original façade mirrors the neoclassical furnishings in this Rome hotel, 200 meters from Termini Station and 400 meters from the shops of Via Nazionale.
Located in Rome's Quirinale district, this hotel draws a mix of tourists to its doors, which are 1 block from Teatro dell'Opera and a 5 minute walk to the Termini Station.
Grandiose 19th-century property overlooking Rome's central Via Nazionale, just steps from the Piazza della Repubblica, and 1 kilometer from the Trevi fountain and Spanish Steps.
Located in Monti, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Roman Forum, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and Colosseum. Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and Piazza Venezia are also within 15 minutes.