The once center of the Roman Empire and now the center of tourist attractions in Rome, the Roman Forum is a must see when visiting.
Personally, I visited the Roman Forum three times and I would have gladly gone again.
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, the Roman Forum was the center of the Roman Empire where countless temples, senate houses, and ancient history can be found.
The Roman Forum is massive since new additions were added to it every time a new Roman emperor came into power. You could spend days in the Roman Forum and not even begin to scratch the surface.
When my parents visited Rome I HIGHLY suggested that they visit the Roman Forum and they thought that it was absolutely spectacular.
While they are so many different things to see in the Roman Forum I have a few tips for surviving and some suggestions on key places to visit.
Tip #1: Wear Comfortable Clothes
Since the Roman Forum is so big you’re going to be spending a lot of time walking. The ground and stairs are also very uneven since everything is so old so flip flops or sandals are really not going to help you.
You should also wear layers, especially if it is very hot outside. You are going to be sweating from all of the walking around on an uneven surface.
Tip #2: Bring Lots of Water
When I first visited the Roman Forum it was the end of August and I was dying of thirst halfway through our trip. There are men “selling” water bottles in the Roman Forum, but under NO circumstances should you buy them. I have seen first hand these people pull water bottles out of the garbage, fill them with water, and then sell them to tourists.
So come prepared with water if you plan on exploring the entire Roman Forum.
As far as what to see in the Roman Forum, I have some suggestions for what I believe are the best spots in the Roman Forum.
Stop #1: The House of the Vestal Virgins
If you have read or heard of the foundation story of Rome, then you will know the importance of the House of the Vestal Virgins. If you have no idea what I’m talking about I suggest checking out the link below because it is a really great story. Check out this book:
The Vestal Virgins were priestesses that were worshipped by the people, who believed that they had special powers since they protected the Eternal Fire of the Roman Empire. The House of the Vestal Virgins is where they lived and worshiped the goddess Vesta. Fun fact: No men were allowed in the House of the Vestal Virgins since the priestesses had to maintain their virginity. So if you’re a male in the House of the Vestal Virgins, congratulations! (If you have more questions about the House of the Vestal Virgins I am more than happy to answer, I wrote a research paper on them!)
The statues in the House of the Vestal Virgins are absolutely amazing and the history behind the priestesses is even more fascinating, it is definitely a must see in the Roman Forum.
Spot #2: The Triumphal Arches
There are two triumphal arches that are located in the Roman Forum. On one end of the Roman Forum is the Arch of Septimus Severus and on the other end you have the Arch of Titus.
If you don’t know anything about either of these Roman emperors, I highly suggest reading up on them beforehand because learning the history behind the different parts of the Roman Forum really makes the experience more fascinating. Check out this book on Roman emperors:
In Ancient Rome when a emperor or war general would return triumphant they would enter Rome along the Triumphal Parade Route, and under the Triumphal Arches that had been built by previous emperors. Throughout the years, new emperors would add their own arches that told the story of their triumphs and their reign as emperor.
It is amazing to see these structures still standing today with all of the history behind them.
Right outside of the Roman Forum you can also check out the Arch of Constantine, which is a personal favorite of mine. (Fun fact: The Arch of Constantine contains artwork and sculptures from three other arches that no longer exist.)
Spot #3: Home of Romulus
The Roman Empire was believed to be started by Romulus on top of the hill where the Roman Forum is now located.
If you climb up to the top of the hill, not only are the views absolutely spectacular, but you can also see where historians believe the Roman Empire began.
At the top of the hill you can see the remains of where historians believe Romulus began his tribe and the beginnings of the Roman Empire.
It is amazing to see the history and know that you are looking at one of the oldest possible places in the world. You can also get some pretty cool pictures (like me above).
If you want to learn more about seeing the artwork from the Roman Empire, I suggest checking out my blog, Museums…Museums EVERYWHERE.