The world famous Colosseum remains a dramatic sight for all visitors to
Rome and a quick tour inside
this cavernous amphitheater provides a
revealing look into its use and former grandeur. The Colosseum has a truly remarkable
architecture and the stadium was designed to hold more than fifty-thousand spectators while the lions and gladiators did their work. The area beneath the floor of the Colosseum's
arena was a complex of cells,
holding areas and paths that were designed to allow animals,
gladiators and human sacrifices access to the fighting surface, all without mixing
together until the appointed time. See our
Guide to the Colosseum for more photographs and details of this amazing
Wonder of the World.
Two sets forums, which served as public squares and marketplaces,
were at the heart of ancient Rome
and both areas border
the Via dei Fori Imperiali. The Imperial Forums, located mostly to the left of the
road as one proceeds towards the Colosseum from Piazza Venezia, were
constructed during Rome’s “Imperial” age, when the roman emperor's
right to rule was unquestioned by his subjects.
The older Roman Forums (on the right side of Via dei Fori Imperiali) were the
civic-core of ancient Rome and are scattered along the Via
Sacra, which was ancient Rome’s main
The Palatine Hill, which looms above
the Roman Forums on the west, was where the elite lived and it houses the ruins of many palaces and several interesting
The ruins of the Forums mark the historical center of the Roman Empire
and contain the remnants of the seats of power of ancient Rome. If you are expecting
to see intact buildings, you will be disappointed. For centuries
this naturally swampy area was ignored or sometimes the temples and other
monuments were used as sources of materials for constructing other buildings.
Eventually the area
filled-in with dirt and debris and the Forums were lost to history. What we can see today has been excavated
and in some cases, partially restored. However, the
of time has had not impact on the importance and incredible sense of history
that one experiences while exploring the Imperial and Roman Forums.
Expect to spend an afternoon at the Forums and Palatine Hill, or less if you simply want to
take a quick walkthrough. Be warned, it is a fascinating area and you will
soon find yourself trying to translate Latin dates and Latin scripts as you
wander this breathtaking piece of history. It is difficult to avoid
thinking that you are treading in the footsteps of Caesar and other
notorious personalities responsible for the amazing Empire ruled from Rome
over two-thousand years ago.
See our guide to the
Forums (including Palatine Hill) and our guide to the
Imperial Forums for photographs of the monuments and details on
visiting both locations.
Note: In order to visit this area you must purchase a combination ticket
that covers entrance to the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Palatine
Hill. If you plan to visit these attractions and other museums in
Rome, you might want to see if the
which once provided discount admission for numerous attractions over a three-day period,
has been reintroduced by the City of Rome.
The Capitoline Hill was a seat of power in ancient Rome and remains
a center of government even today. The Capitoline's Piazza Campidoglio,
is a good place to start your tour of Ancient Rome. The Piazza and its
buildings (now museums) were constructed and in some cases modified based on plans created by Michelangelo.
The top of the hill offers excellent views of the Forums, the not-to-be-missed Capitoline Museum, as well as a very interesting church. Read our
one-page guide to
for photos and details.
The Temple of the Pantheon is one of the true glories of ancient Rome and one
of the best preserved sites from the Roman Empire. Located in Piazza della Rotonda,
the Pantheon dates from the first quarter of the 2nd Century. Constructed
on the order of the Emperor Hadrian, the Pantheon has become one of the
most enduring treasures of the Roman Empire. Read more about the
Rotunda, its colossal dome and the unique turn of events that influenced its
preservation, in our illustrated
one-page guide to the Pantheon.
Castel Sant Angelo offers panoramic views along the Tiber and is one of
Rome's outstanding architectural monuments. The building has served Roman
emperors as a mausoleum, several popes as a fortress (it is still connected to
the Vatican by a passageway) and as a bulwark of the defensive wall that once
surrounded Rome. Click here for our
Guide to the Castel Sant'Angelo, including a number of stunning photographs
of this remarkable building. Did we mention its links to the popular novel
and film Angels & Demons?
contains the most impressive and largest of the famous Roman
Baths, although it has been damaged by earthquakes and by its use for
housing by squatters over a long period of time. Using the baths was a custom
and courtesy among the early Romans, as most residences
lacked running water. See our
one-page guide to the baths of Caracalla
Although touring catacombs is not for everyone, the Catacombs of
Saint Callixtus are considered the
best examples of catacombs for those interested in the early history of
Christians in Rome and their burial chambers. For information on visiting, see this site.
the Piazza Colonna, you will find the Column of Marcus Aurelius. The
engraved scroll running up the column recounts the history of the Emperor's military campaigns in
The Column of Marcus Aurelius was built to commemorate the Emperor
Marcus Aurelius's wars (2nd century A.D.) against various Germanic tribes.
The column is similar to Trajan's column which predates it. The Aurelian
column has a hollow core with stairs leading to the top. It is covered with
raised reliefs (bas-relief) showing scenes from the wars. These scenes
spiral to the top of the column. The statue of Marcus Aurelius that once
topped the spire was replaced with that of St. Paul during renovations in
the 16th century.
This bridge across the Tiber was constructed in 62 BC is still in use (It
was originally called the Pons Fabricius). It has been rebuilt in part and
refaced but much of the original structure remains (see the inscriptions on
Rome's Seven Hills
Rome's Seven Hills
, all located to the
east of the Tiber River, play heavily in the city's ancient history, but
most are now hard to see or find due to erosion and the incessant
building and rebuilding that has taken place on many of their slopes.
The Seven Hills are: Capitoline, Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Esquiline, Viminal, and Quirinal. Today, the most visible of the original
Seven Hills of Rome is the Capitoline
which along with the
are the hills most visited in tourist
have provided evidence that the Seven Hills were fortified with walled-forts (perhaps including small villages) well before the founding
of Rome and pre-dating the Roman Empire by several centuries.
If you are
interested in "seeing" the locations of the historic Seven Hills
of Rome, we show them on our map of the Seven Hills or Rome
The Hills are no longer prominent, so you may want to toggle the
"terrain" button at the top of the map to get a better idea of
the modern geometry of Rome's famous Seven Hills.
Explore Rome's Glorious Piazzas and Fountains
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