For several centuries the Roman Forum was the center of the Ancient Rome. It is in the valley between the Palatine, Capitoline and Esquiline hills. Most ancient structures now lay in ruins but some of them, which were built in 100-300 A.D., are in good condition.
In ancient times Rome consisted of separate settlements on several hills, Palatine, Capitoline and Quirinal, without a single center. And only under Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, or Tarquin the Elder, the legendary fifth king of Rome, on the site of the Roman Forum the Cloaca Maxima was constructed. The world`s earliest sewage system allowed to drain the valley between the hills and create a single city center. Later, it was just this skill in construction of sewage systems, aqueducts and roads that made it possible for the Romans to colonize large territories in the Mediterranean.
At first the Roman Forum was only a trading area. But eventually it became the center of business, public, political and religious life of the vast Roman Empire. All public events took place just there. Since the time of the Roman Republic executions were also held on the Roman Forum.
If you enter the Forum from the side of the Coliseum, then, passing along the Via Sacra, you can see the remains of the Golden Palace of Nero. The main constructions of the Forum are behind the Arch of Titus (circa 82 A.D.). It is the oldest triumphal arch in Rome. If you turn left at the arch, you can climb onto the Palatine, and if you go forward, you will get in the main part of the Forum.
There are two roads in the Forum. The Via Sacra (Sacred Road) runs on the right, and the Via Nova (New Road) – on the left, at the foot of the Palatine. In the Via Sacra you can see large-scale ruins of the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. It was erected in 315 A.D. Three giant arches reaching the height of 39 meters are what is left of the basilica. Further on you can see the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina built in 141 A.D. In 7 century A.D. it was adapted as a Roman Catholic church and so survived to our days almost intact. In the center of the Forum you can see large-scale ruins of the Temple of Vesta.
The oldest part of the Forum is at the foot of the Capitoline hill. There you can see ruins of the Temple of Saturn built in 489 B.C. It is the oldest temple in the Roman Forum. On the Roman Forum you can also see the Arch of Septimius Severus and a rectangular building of the Curia Julia or Senate House. These constructions survived to our days in excellent condition. The Curia Julia was repeatedly rebuilt and now you can see the building dating back to 3 century A.D., which was reconstructed by the order of Benito Mussolini in 1932.