Roman Forum

The political, religious and civic heart of ancient Rome.

TravelCurious Tip

Walk up to the terraces of Campidoglio for a fantastic panoramic view of the whole Forum.

Temples and Triumphs

When you think of ancient Rome, the first images your mind conjures are usually of great stone buildings, with columned porticos, decorated arches and magnificent statues. To visit the Roman Forum in the centre of the modern city allows those images to take life before your very eyes.

Granted, a bit of imagination is required - but take a walk through the Forum’s enormous columns, ruined temples and grand state buildings, and you can really get the feeling that you are walking back through time. The Forum was the political and economic centre of Rome during the era of the Republic, and remained an important monumental arena during the Empire. It was down the ancient high street of Via Sacra through the Forum that Rome’s conquering military commanders would hold their triumphal processions, called the Triumphs, in order to commemorate and sanctify their victories.

The heart of Rome

The Forum is bursting with historic buildings. There are the Basilicas Iulia and Aemelia where judicial matters were handled, the Senatorial Rostra where Marc Antony delivered Caesar’s eulogy, the colossal and intricate Arch of Septimius Severus, the vast columns of the Temple of Saturn, and countless more fascinating fragments. The unassuming brick stump of the Umbilicus Urbis, the ancient ‘navel of the city,’ is the point from which all distances from Rome were measured.

After the Forum fell into disrepair in the Middle Ages, many of the buildings were quarried for use in other constructions. Eventually earth piled up to 7 metres above the ancient street level, and the area was even used as a medieval cattle field. It was not until the 18th century that the old Forum was excavated, uncovering the buildings’ lower portions and restoring the original ground level. Evidence of this change can be seen at the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina (later the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda), which has a door halfway up the wall.

Three thousand years ago, this area was watery marshland. It was only by an incredible feat of engineering - the Cloaca Maxima, the city’s drainage system that still functions today - that the Romans were able to build the centre of the world’s mightiest empire. Its majestic remains are now one of the world’s most important archaeological sites, and an awe-inspiring sight for any modern visitor.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Capitoline Hill
The ceremonial centre of ancient Rome, rejuvenated by Michelangelo in the Renaissance and offering amazing views over the Forum.
Palatine Hill
This hill is where the Roman State began, and where Rome's Emperors used to live. Today it boasts many remains from their magnificent palaces.
Theatre of Marcellus
The Theatre of Marcellus was an ancient Roman arena built by the Emperor Augustus.
Arch of Titus
One of Rome's most iconic triumphal arches, and the model for the Parisian Arc de Triomphe.
Temple of Caesar
Remains of the temple of Julius Caesar.
Curia Julia
The seat of the imperial Senate in the Roman Forum.

Related Tours

Vatican & Colosseum in a Day: Private Full-Day Walking Tour
Experience the magic of Rome with a fully guided walking tour of the most popular highlights of the Eternal City and discover the Colosseum, the historic centre and the Vatican Museums in a day with entrance tickets included. 

On your private full-day walking tour, you will:

  • Walk in the footsteps of  Gladiators as you explore the Colosseum, the largest standing amphitheatre in the world;
  • Learn about the emperors who built the Flavian Amphitheatre and the opening 100 days of games;
  • See the iconic Triumphal Arch of Constantine, built by Constantine the Great in 315AD;
  • Explore the ruins of the Roman forum, the downtown of Ancient Rome;
  • See the major highlights of Rome’s Centro Storico (historic centre) including the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona;
  • Stop for lunch in one of your guide's favourite haunts (lunch not included in the cost of the tour);
  • Hop in a taxi across town to visit the Vatican Museums;
  • Tour the highlights of the magnificent Vatican Museums, including the Pinecone courtyard, the LaocoönGalleries of the Maps and Tapestries, and the amazing Raphael Rooms;
  • Marvel at the works of Michelangelo Buonarroti in the Sistine Chapel - the grand finale!;
  • End your tour on the Balcony of the iconic St. Peter's Basilica, after which you are welcome to continue exploring the Basilica at your own leisure.

Discover the religious, historical, and cultural significance of Rome, once the Caput Mundi (head of the world) on this magical full-day privately guided tour. 

Walk in the footsteps of slaves and emperors, gladiators and Vestal Virgins, cardinals and artists as your expert guide weaves together the stories that have made Rome the Eternal City. 

Relish walking into the Colosseum and step out onto the stage – the most famous monument of the ancient world. Learn about a day in the life of an ancient Roman as you stroll through the Forum admiring the temples and basilicas still standing after two millennia. 

Then plunge into the friendly hustle and bustle of ‘modern’ Rome as you walk around the historic centre, taking in such iconic sites as the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the mighty Pantheon – the largest man-made cement dome with an oculus in the world. And it was built in the second century! 

After a pit stop for lunch, hop in a taxi across town where your guide will lead you through the hallowed halls of the Vatican Museums to wonder and marvel at the masterpieces from antiquity and those extraordinary, god-like rivals of the High Renaissance: Michelangelo and Raphael. 

On exiting the Sistine Chapel your tour will end on the iconic balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, after which you will have time to explore the Basilica at your own leisure.

PLEASE NOTE: The order of the itinerary may change based on ticket availability. 
Ancient Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Private Tour
On this private tour, you will time travel back 2,000 years to visit the Ancient Rome sites that were of significance to the Roman Empire including the Colosseum, the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, the Roman Forum, the heart of ancient  Rome, and the Palatine Hill, where the city of Rome was founded on.

On your private tour, you will: 

  • Explore the Colosseum and learn of its architectural secrets, and of the gladiators who fought here;
  • Hear stories about some of the empire's greatest emperors, like Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar, and stories of its' cruellest emperors: Nero and Caligula;
  • Discover the Roman Forum, the heart of Ancient Rome and an open-air meeting site;
  • Take in the vast scale of the Imperial Palaces on Palatine Hill.
You will start your tour at the ancient Colosseum, which is an enduring symbol of the power, prowess and bloodlust of the Roman Empire. Although damaged over the years by earthquakes, pollution and stone robbers, it remains a truly spectacular structure. 

The building hasn’t been used for entertainment since the early medieval era; in the following centuries, it was employed variously as a fortress, Christian shrine, and housing for a religious order. 

Your next stop will be the Roman Forum where you will come across remnants of magnificent temples, law courts, palaces and marketplaces, while your guide shares the stories of what daily life in the heart of the Roman Empire was like. 

Your tour will end at Palatine Hill – the birthplace of the Roman Senate, and where Rome’s Emperors lived and ruled from. The word ‘palace’ is derived from the name of this hill, as so many Roman rulers built their lavish residences on the Palatine. 

Climb the hill today, and you will find extensive ruins of the once splendid palaces and gardens of some of Rome’s most famous emperors, including those of Augustus, Tiberius and the Flavian Palace, as well as the Temple to Apollo built by Augustus, and Domitian’s impressive Hippodrome. 

Please note that the order of this tour may change based on ticket availability. 
Colosseum & Roman Forum: Family-Friendly Private Half-Day Tour
Immerse yourself into Ancient Rome and travel back to the time of Roman gladiators by exploring the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater and the Roman Forum, the scenario for public meetings, gatherings and shops, on this family-friendly half-day tour especially designed for young children and teens in mind. 

On your private tour, you will:

  • Bring Ancient Rome to life on this child and family-friendly tour with your private guide;
  • Learn of the famed Gladiators and their courageous fights at the Colosseum;
  • Hear the stories of the first games ever held in the times of Emperor Titus;
  • Find out how many spectators the amphitheatre could accommodate and who could be invited;
  • Have a sweet treat on us and a short break to enjoy some gelato;
  • Explore the Roman Forum considered the heart of Ancient Rome and the first open-air public meeting place;
  • Discover what religious ceremonies and festivals were held there;
  • Walk past the remains of numerous important buildings, built to honour men and roman gods.

If any site in Rome will entertain your children, the Colosseum will! A symbol of Rome and of the Ancient Roman Empire, this building has been entertaining people for millennia!  This is where the Emperor and the Roman people would come to watch the "games" ranging from gladiator fights to processions of exotic animals

After visiting the Colosseum (time-entrance tickets included), you will see the Arch of Constantine, built to commemorate Emperor Constantine the Great's victory over Maxentius in 312 AD. Your guide will regale you with tales of the Emperor and his army triumphantly marching into Rome! 

You will then head into the Roman Forum and walk on the Via Sacra (or "sacred way"), the main street of Ancient Rome. This was the "downtown" area of the city where Senators and people alike came to meet and trade, hear public speeches, vote in elections, trial criminals, host religious ceremonies... and more!  You will even see the ruins of the Temple of Julius Caesar and his altar, where people still lay flowers today in commemoration of the famed Roman General!

Depending on the day and your preference, you will enjoy a quick stop for a delicious Italian Gelato either halfway through the tour for a sweet treat break or at the end of the tour. 

This shorter tour is ideal for families with young children and does not include a visit to Palatine Hill. 

Please note: The order of this tour may change based on ticket availability

Rome Catacombs & Appian Way: Private Golf Cart Tour
This tour will whisk you away to the cobbled lanes and idyllic fields of the Italian countryside to visit the Catacombs and drive along the famed and historic Appian Way. 

On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy pick-up in central Rome and a panoramic drive past the iconic ColosseumRoman Forum, Arch of Constantine, Circus Maximus and Imperial Palaces on Palatine Hill;
  • Drive along the historic Appian Way, the ‘Roman Queen of Roads’ - and step on the actual paving stones laid by Ancient Romans;
  • Visit the Roman Catacombs with tickets for a guided tour included;
  • Venture off the beaten track Rome to discover ruins, relics and curiosities hidden from the eye;
  • Learn about Roman engineering on your drive back into the city, and admire an Ancient Roman Aqueduct hidden in plain sight!
  • Combine the intimacy of a walking tour with the comfort of a driving tour with your private golf cart.
Your experience starts with a pick-up in central Rome and a panoramic drive past the iconic ColosseumRoman Forum, Arch of Constantine, Circus Maximus and Imperial Palaces on Palatine Hill, before you embark on an adventure across the less travelled side of beautiful Rome - the majestic Appian Way. 

The Via Appia Antica (Appian way) was at one time, the most important road in the Roman Empire rolling from Central Rome to the beautiful hills and fields of the neighbouring countryside and eventually all the way to the City of Brindisi. Sided by sleepy churches, farmhouses and crumbling Roman ruins, it is a truly magical picturesque route.

You will stop at one of Rome's ancient catacombs to explore the network of underground burial grounds that date from the second to the fifth century, and then drive out to the city’s remaining visible network of aqueducts.

Please note: Private guides are not allowed to guide inside the Catacombs so you will join a small group with an official Catacombs tour guide.

Once the pride of Roman engineering, these wonderful aqueducts transported water over long distances to towns and cities, providing the means to construct complex sewage irrigation systems, and supply fresh, clean water for baths, fountains, and drinking water for its citizens.

Your four-hour tour will end with a drop-off back in your hotel or any central Rome location.
The Life of Julius Caesar: Rome Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Explore the Rome of Julius Caesar, born to an impoverished aristocratic family in the ‘suburban’ with zero political ambitions, Julius Caesar was not expected to become a consul of Rome let alone its sole dictator in perpetuity, and one of the most famous and influential men in history. 

On your private tour, you will:

  • Begin at the mighty Circus Maximus, where Caesar will have come to watch the races, famous for being the largest stadium for chariot racing in the world, with marble seating for over 250,000 spectators. Learn all about this popular, and highly dangerous sport;
  • Admire the stunning views of the ancient palaces of the Palatine cascading down the hill;
  • Hear all about the importance of public games for the smooth running of society: ‘Give them bread and circuses!
  • Learn all about the early life of Julius Caesar and his unlikely, stratospheric political and military rise to power;
  • Wander down the hill towards the River Tiber and look over the bridge to Trastevere where Julius Caesar had a villa and where he housed Cleopatra;
  • Discover Teatro Marcellus, an ancient open-air theatre used for artistic performances; 
  • See the ruins of the ancient fish market and the Portico d’Ottavia: the building of which was begun by Julius, and completed by his adopted son Octavian - better known as Caesar Augustus, who dedicated it to his sister, Octavia;
  • Head towards the centre of governance in Ancient Rome, the Capitoline Hill
  • Be wowed by the spectacular view overlooking the ruins of the Roman Forum, the cradle of the gods and of ancient civilization, and at the far end, the Colosseum;
  • See the buildings that were begun by Caesar including the temple to Venus, the Curia, and his spy's humble resting place in the centre of the Forum;
  • Across the Fori Imperiali (built by Mussolini) you’ll see the ruins of Trajan’s Forum and the firewall built to protect the forum and the suburban from fire;
  • Wander through the ruins to see some of the Suburra where Caesar was born and raised, now a trendy neighbourhood called Monti;
  • Walk back through Piazza Venezia, through the picturesque Jewish Ghetto toward the spectacular ruins at Largo Argentina;
  • End your tour here with the dramatic story of Caesar’s assassination, on those very steps! Stabbed 23 times by his enemies so the blame was shared; including his trusted friend, Brutus, is where the mighty Julius Caesar was finally toppled. ‘Beware the ides of March'.

From the slum neighbourhood of his birth to where he met his grisly end, the city, empire and culture of Rome owe much to Julius Caesar. With your private guide, gain an insight into Caesar's dominance as Consul of Rome. 

Learn all about his upbringing, private life (he was very much a lady’s man) and his military prowess that led to the Triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus – the betrayals and power play, and finally the crossing of the Rubicon. 

Julius Caesar was very much the people’s politician. He was loved by the people who considered him ‘one of them’. This popularity may have led to his hubris and downfall. Rome’s motto is SPQR (Senatus et Populusque Romanus) meaning the Senate and the People of Rome. 

Julius had the will of the people but arrogantly stopped consulting the senate. This cost him dearly, and on the ides of March 44 BC, he was assassinated, stabbed 23 times on the steps leading to the temporary senate-house, at Largo Argentina. 

An astute politician and brilliant military strategist Caesar powered Rome into expansion, decisively defeating enemies and winning the hearts and minds of the common people. Each successful war assured him of the undying loyalty of his soldiers, who followed him into battle after battle. His life and death, are the stories of legends with unions that include a love affair with Cleopatra. 

The contributions he made have echoed through history - including the introduction of the Julian Calendar in Rome, setting the year at 365.25 days, divided into 12 months. 

Your Tour of Julius Caesar’s Rome will delve into the archaeological roots of the city to follow in his footsteps. Discover Caesar’s place of birth in 100BCE - Suburra, a down-and-out area where the trendy area of Monti now stands, and end your tour where his life ended brutally on the steps of the theatre of Pompey at Largo Argentina. 
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