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,
or the ruins of the Temple of Vesta, with its circular footprint as all temples to Vesta…
Just behind it, there’s 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.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
So… see you soon in Rome!
P.S.: The weather forecast was for rain, and I brought an umbrella…
That’s Rome, folks!