Roman Forum (Foro Romano)
The Roman Forum © Lisa Cancade Hackett
The site of Ancient Rome's commercial, political and religious centre rests in the valley between the Capitoline and Palatine hills. The Forum's main thoroughfare, Via Sacra, slices through the old market square and former civic centre. To make sense of the ruins and relics of the old Republic, it is helpful to consult a map of the area. Some of the best-preserved and most notable monuments include the impressive Arch of Septimus Severus - a construction designed to celebrate Roman victory over the Parthinians - and the former atrium of the House of the Vestal Virgins, and the Temple of Vesta. Also of note are the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, and the Arch of Titus, built to celebrate Titus' destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. To the right of the arch are stairs snaking up the Palatine Hill, through a series of terraces to the Farnese gardens. The scented avenue, festooned with roses and orange trees, gives way to a magnificent vista over the Forum. Negotiating your way through the ruins is thrilling but can be confusing and this attraction is best tackled with a guide or at least a good map. There are some really wonderful guides available and they enrich the experience with information and context.
Address: Via dei Fori Imperiali
Opening times: Open daily from 8:30am until dusk. Closed on New Year's Day, 1 May and Christmas Day