The Roman Forum was the centre of political, commercial and judical life in ancient Rome.
As Rome’s population increased, the Forum became too small. In 46BC, Emperor Julius Caesar created a new forum, setting a precedent which was followed by emperors from Augustus to Trajan.
The “Via Sacra” is the route that was followed through the Forum by religious and triumphal processions towards the Capitol.
The eastern end of the Roman Forum is dominated by the massive barrel-valuted ruins of Basilica of Costantine and by the House of the Vestal Virgins. Please don’t miss seeing the Trajan’s Market, the ancient Roman equivalent of the modern shopping centre.
Colosseum. Rome’s greatest amphitheatre was commissioned by the Emperor Vespasian in AD 72; it was built in the form of an ellipse, with its 80 arched entrances allowing easy access to 55.000 spectatores with the seats around a vast central arena.
The emperors held shows here which often began with animals performing circus tricks. Then on came the gladiators, who fought each other to the death.
Palazzo Venezia. Built in the Renaissence period, for the Venetian cardinal Pietro Barbo; it was at times a Papal residence, but it also served as the Venetian Embassy before passing into French and Austrian hands.
Since 1916 it has belonged to the state and in the Fascist era Mussolini used it as his head-quarters and addressed crowds from the central balcony. The building holds collections of early Renaissance paintings and frequently hosts major temporary exhibitions.
Victor Emmanuel Monument, known as Il Vittoriano. Inaugurated in 1911 in honour of Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, the first King of unified Italy; the King is depicted in a gilt bronze equestrian statue.
The edifice, built in austere white Brescian marble, contains a museum of the Risorgimento and often serves as the location for many national patriotic celebrations. The views and panorama of Rome that it offers are spectacular.
Palazzo del Quirinale (Quirinal). In the 1500s Pope Gregory XIII chose this site on the highest of Rome’s seven hills as a Papal summer residence.
Many great architects participated in the construction of the palace, the most famous was Bernini.
Since the 1870 the Palazzo represents the official residence of the King.
In 1947 it become the President’s Republic Residence. Everyday you can see the changing of the guard in front of the palace. The Scuderie Papali, just across the square from the Palazzo, is a new exhibition space housed in the stables of the palace.
Trajan’s Markets. Emperor Trajan and his architect, Apollodorus of Damascus, built this visionary new complex of 150 shops and offices in the early 2nd century AD. It was a real shopping centre where you could buy everything from cloth garments to fine jewlery.
These shops were built with arched entrances, with jambs and lintels creating rectangular portals and windows.
Trajan’s Markets are only a part of a large number of other important monuments, like Trajan’s Column and Torre delle Milizie.
Torre delle Milizie. For centuries this massive brick tower was erroneously thought to have been the location where Nero stood watching Rome burn, after he had set it alight to clear the city’s slums.
It is uncertain whether arson was among Nero’s crimes, but it is certain that he did not watch the fire from this tower: it was built in the 13th century.
Capitol. This was the location of all of the most sacred religious and political ceremonies. The Capitol was considered the centre of the Roman world because it was dedicated to the cult of Jupiter. The hill and its temple came to symbolize Rome’s authority as Caput Mundi.
It is of interest that the Capitol gave its name to seat of the US Congress. A broad flight of steps (the Cordonata) ascends to Michelangelo’s spectacular Piazza del Campidoglio. This is flanked by the Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori which houses the Capitoline Museums with their fine collections of sculptures and paintings.
She-wolf. The most famous object, collocated in Capitoline Museums, is a bronze statue of the legendary she-wolf nursing the two little twins and which symbolize the anniversary of Rome’s foundation.
According to tradition the town should be found by Romulus on 21th of April in 753 b.C.
In conformity with the legend, the evil king of Alba threw his baby nephews, Romulus and Remus, into the Tiber but they were washed ashore, and suckled by a she-wolf.
Once adults, interpreting the flight of birds they established that Romulus will be the founder and the first king of the Eternal City. In fact it’s from Romulus’s that Rome derives its name.