I took my umbrella just in case (at the Roman Forum)

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I would never have dreamt that it would be so amazing to walk through the Forum Romanum (or Roman Forum).

I’ve always seen it from the outside, walking on Via dei Fori Imperiali, but I just couldn’t imagine that what I saw was just a little fragment of what anybody can see if they go inside the archaeological area.

According to the entrance you choose – I went in from Via Cavour instead of the probably more usual access in front of the Colosseum – you can follow your personal path and see, for instance, the Temple dedicated to Antoninus Pius (Roman Emperor from 138 to 161) and his wife Faustina,

The temple of "Divus Antoninus Pius and Diva Faustina"
The temple of “Divus Antoninus Pius and Diva Faustina”

or the ruins of the Temple of Vesta, with its circular footprint as all temples to Vesta…

The Temple of Vesta
The Temple of Vesta

Just behind it, there’s the House of the Vestal Virgins.

The House of the Vestals
The House of the Vestal Virgins

 

The Temple of Castor and Pollux (Italian: Tempio dei Dioscuri) was originally built in gratitude for victory at the Battle of Lake Regillus (495 BC). Castor and Pollux were the Dioscuri, the twin sons of Zeus (Jupiter) and Leda.

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The Temple of Castor and Pollux

You can go up the Palatin Hill, the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other.

A view of the Forum Romanum from the Pomerium
A view of the Forum Romanum from the Pomerium from the Palatin Hill

On its top, the pomerium was the original line ploughed by Romulus around the walls of the original city. The legendary date of its demarcation, 21 April, continues to be celebrated as the anniversary of the city’s founding.

You just cannot miss the “Sistine Chapel” of the Middle Ages: Santa Maria Antiqua.

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Santa Maria Antiqua

Part of the Vestibule of the Imperial Palaces was transformed and adapted to a Christian church dedicated to Mary, Santa Maria Antiqua (the designation Antiqua was given after the building of the church of S. Maria Nuova – later called Santa Francesca Romana – where it was located the Temple of Venus).

Here it is:

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Santa Francesca Romana

I must confess it’s always an emotional stress for me to see how Christianity has always parasitezed whatever good it met on its way. This is especially true in Rome. Many christian churches were built over pre-existing original Roman sites or with ancient roman marbles, columns and other stolen materials…

Let’s go back to ancient Romans and have a look at the huge ruins of the Basil of Massentium and at the Temple dedicated to his son Romulus.

The Basil of Massentium
The Basil of Massentium
The Temple of Romulus
The Temple of Romulus

 

The Arch of Titus
The Arch of Titus

The Arch of Titus is a honorific arch constructed in c. AD. 81 by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus’s victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70). The arch has provided the general model for many triumphal arches erected since the 16th century—perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

While I write I understand that the number of things I saw this morning are just a little part of all the richness you can visit in this so vast area, so I refrain from trying to show you everything and hope you will be able to come and see all this in person at least once in a lifetime.

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One of the many nymphaeums
One of the many nymphaeums

 

So… see you soon in Rome!

Gioia

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P.S.: The weather forecast was for rain, and I brought an umbrella…

That’s Rome, folks!

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