2- Forum

The archaeological area of Forum is the wider one.

As it was the habit of Romans the Forum was the centre of political, commercial and judicial life.

The need of sheltered place urged the raising of large buildings called Basilicas;

From the top of the south end of the Capitol it is possible to view the whole area and make out the Sacred Way ( Via Sacra), route followed through the forum by religious and triumphal processions towards the temple of Jupiter and the Senate-house.

It is hard to imagine the magnificence of the buildings of the Forum as well as all the other public buildings in the period of utmost power of Rome, however still at present we are amazed at the imposing appearence of the relics.

The original Forum is in the valley between Capitoline and Palatine Hills. Proceeding from West to East there are the relics of Basilica Aemilia, a modern replica of the hall where Rome's Senate used to meet, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the relics of the temple of Concord, of the temple of Vespasian, of the Portico of Dii Consentes, of the temple of Saturn, of the Rostra, the Column of Phocas, the relics of the Basilica Julia, of the temple of Castor and Pollux and of the temple of Julius Caesar.

Further the relics of the temple of Antoninus and Faustina, of the Regia, (Office of the chief priest of ancient Rome) (Pontifex Maximus), of the temple of Romulus, of the Basilica of Constantine, of the temple of Venus and Rome, of the Bath, the arch of Titus, the relics of the House of the Vestal Virgins and of the temple of Vesta.

As the Forum became too small for Rome's boomed population, Julius Caesar built a new one in the direction of Esquiline and Quirinal. At present part of the forum of Caesar is covered by via dei Fori Imperiali and part of it is visible from there above. There are also visible relics of the Forum of Augustus, of the Forum of Nerva, of the Forum of Trajan with the elegant marble column of 40 mt tall (131 ft), inaugurated in113 A.D. to celebrate his two compaigns in Dacia (Romania).

Close to it rise the imposing mass of Trajan's Markets. It is worth nothing that the massive brick tower was built in the Middle Ages for difensive purposes. In the lower East side of the Capitol there is the Mamertine prison where is supposed to be imprisoned St Peter.

The Flavian anphiteatre (Colosseum), Rome's greatest one, was commissioned by the emperor Vespasian in the 72 A.D.

The remains give us just a little idea of its former imposigness and elegance. It could take 55.000 spectators who reached the numbered seat by 80 arched entrances and internal corridors and staircases to the various levels.

In the 80 A.D. Titus, Vespasian's son, staged inaugural festival lasting 100 days.

Deadly gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights were staged free of charge by the emperor and wealthy citizens for public viewing. The Colosseum may have acquired its name from the huge gilt bronze statue that stood near the amphiteatre. Nearly stands the Arch of Constantine, dedicated in 315 A.D. to celebrate Constantine's victory over his co-emperor Maxentius in 312 A.D. and it is the largest of the triumphal arches in Rome.