The good news is that the Forum’s really easy to find, so there’s no excuse for missing it on your trip to the Italian capital.
Getting to the Roman Forum by train
You’ll find the Roman Forum buildings at the heart of historic Rome, right beside other world-famous attractions like the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. As some of the city’s biggest draws, these sites are signposted from all over, and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding them.
If you’re comfortable getting to and from the Forum on foot, this is definitely the best way to go, as you’re almost sure to come across something unique along the way. But if you’re accommodation is further out of the city, or you’ve got a limited time to explore, you have an excellent variety of transport options to make use of.
Which station is nearest to the Roman Forum?
One of the best ways to get around Rome is by using the city’s underground metro system. Consisting of three lines, this connects many of the must-see attractions and even expands out towards more residential zones where lots of hotels and rental apartments are.
There are two metro stops near the Roman Forum entrance: Colosseo and Circo Massimo. These are both a few minutes’ walk away, so which you’ll need to hop off at will depend on your direction. Either way, both are on Line B (the blue one), so it’s not the end of the world if you call it wrong.
If the underground metro doesn’t get you where you need to go, Rome also boasts a speedy and efficient tram network which connects much of the central area. There’s a stop right outside the Forum gate, the Parco Celio stop, which is called at by line 3 and line 8 services.
Rome also benefits from an excellent bus network, with stops all over the city and several services calling by the Roman Forum’s entrance. Your options here include the 51, 75, 81, 85, 87, C3, n3s, nMB and nMC services, among others.
However you plan to travel, you’ll be pleased to hear that Rome’s transport is both cheap and integrated. With the same operator running all these different services, you’re free to hop between trams, buses, and the metro all using the same ticket.
What to see at the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is not a single historical site, but an entire complex of important structures built at the order of various rulers over the centuries. Here’s just some of what you’ll want to keep an eye out for on your visit.
Temple of Saturn
Thought to have been constructed around 500 B.C, the Temple of Saturn is one of the Forum’s oldest structures. It was partially rebuilt during its lifetime, and much of what remains today is thought to date from 42 B.C. It served as a monument to the god of agriculture, Saturn, while also being used as a treasury.
Arch of Titus
This impressive arch was built at the order of Emperor Domitian to honour his brother, Emperor Titus, in 81 A.D.
Also known as the Curia, this building was the home of the Roman Senate. This meant it was at the centre of political life in the Roman Empire. Added to and adapted over the centuries, it was later converted to a church sometime in the 7th century.
Temple of Castor and Pollux
This ancient temple is one of the oldest features of the forum, thought to have been completed in 484 B.C. It honoured the twin gods Castor and Pollux, to whom the constellation Gemini is attributed.
Temple of Vesta
This circular-shaped temple was dedicated to the goddess of home and family.
The Sacra Via
This long-lost street runs through the Forum, once connecting all the sites within the complex with other important structures like the Colosseum. It was often used by the ancient Romans for grand parades and public ceremonies.
Roman Forum History and Facts
The incredible Roman Forum’s history dates right back to the birth of the city itself, making it one of the oldest and most fascinating ancient ruins on the planet.
For centuries, the complex served as the administrative heart of Rome and its Empire, with beautiful temples, arches, and homes centring on a grand plaza. But the land beneath the Roman Forum had rather more humble beginnings than this.
A legendary alliance
The story of the Roman Forum begins with the foundation of Rome and the alliance struck by Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines and ruler of the Capitoline Hill, and Romulus, who was the controller of the Palatine Hill.
A place to gather
With their wars finally at an end and a new bond formed, the people of the two kingdoms needed a neutral space where they could meet. Fortunately, an area of marshland laid between the two keeps used to collect floodwaters from the Tiber or provide drainage for the surrounding hills.
The two kingdoms tore down their border walls and the area between quickly sprung up as an open-air marketplace. Growing from there in its importance as a place to gather and discuss matters, the Forum would go on to become the administrative centre of Rome. A place where public affairs were managed, speeches took place, and trials were held.
The earliest temples at the Roman Forum were constructed in the 5th century B.C., including the Temple of Saturn and Temple of Castor. The Forum was added to by various Emperors over time, most notably sometime around 80 B.C., when the entire plaza was raised up by over one metre and beautifully paved in marble stone.
The last structures to go up at the Roman Forum were the Temple of Divus Iulius and the Arch of Augustus in 29 B.C.
A slow decline
Over time, successive emperors sought to build their own palaces and other buildings of importance on free land, mostly to the north of the Forum. Functions like ceremonies, trials, and speeches gradually shifted elsewhere, and the Forum’s elaborate structures mostly fell out of use.
Much of the Forum began falling into ruin by the 5th century A.D., as earthquakes, storms, and a lack of upkeep took their toll. By the Middle Ages, it was little more than an overgrown field, and its essential role in Roman history had long since been forgotten.
The rediscovery came in 1803 when archaeologist Carlo Fea began excavation. What followed was a project spanning more than a century to uncover the long-lost Roman Forum, and today the site is one of the city’s most-loved visitor attractions. Work continues at the Roman Forum to the present day, and we’re learning new things about Roman civilization from finds at the site all the time.
Restaurants, Bars, and Stores near the Roman Forum
With many of Rome’s most famous attractions in the vicinity, including the Colosseum and Domus Aurea, you won’t be surprised that the Roman Forum’s surroundings are always bustling with tourists. That’s why you won’t struggle to find somewhere you can enjoy a crisp glass of white or rustic pizza al fresco. However, you can expect places to be busier and a bit more commercial than in other parts of the city. Nevertheless, you still have plenty of excellent options.
The best restaurants near the Roman Forum
From light breakfasts through to late-night cravings, you’ll find just what the occasion calls for in the streets surrounding the Roman Forum.
- Ristorante Apuleius – delectable three-course set menus served on a shaded outdoor terrace
- Caffetteria Italia al Vittoriano – a perfect open-air breakfast spot serving fresh pastries and excellent coffee
- Osteria Circo – a rustic Italian diner with all your classic pasta, steak and seafood favourites
- Pizzeria di Sforza Piero – fresh and delicious pizza sold by the slice until midnight from Monday to Saturday
- La Villetta – An ambient spot offering authentic Roman dishes that are a hit with the locals
The best bars near the Roman Forum
It can get a little warm if you visit the Roman Forum at the peak of the afternoon, so what better way than to cool off with an espresso martini, crisp white, or local beer? You’ll find a diverse offering of bars near the Roman Forum, with something to suit all tastes and budgets.
- Camden Town – A British-style pub with plenty of atmosphere and a great selection of beers on draught
- Enoteca Wineconcept – a cosy wine bar with a fantastic selection of bottles from all over the region
- La Vineria di Angelino – a beautiful al fresco wine terrace matched by a stylish interior
- The Race Club – a quirky cocktail bar with a vintage interior and laidback vibe
- L’Oasi della Birra – a spectacular craft beer cellar that also stocks a selection of local wines and spirits
Shopping near the Roman Forum
If you’ve put time aside for some retail therapy on your Rome trip, you’ll have plenty of options in and around your visit to the Roman Forum. You will need to walk a few hundred metres out of the main tourist lanes unless it’s only souvenirs and novelty stuff you’re after, but doing so is well worth the reward.
Rome is home to a plethora of fashion houses and quirky boutiques where you can pick up a one-of-a-kind item that you’ll be dying to show off when you get home.
You can find plenty of hip spots over in nearby Monti, which is a few hundred metres northeast of the Forum. If the big international names are more your thing, a scenic 25-minute walk north of the Forum should bring you to the famous fashion houses.
Opening Times and Prices
You’ll be pleased to hear that the Roman Forum is open every day of the year, excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
What’s more, you’ll have plenty of flexibility when you choose to visit, as the Forum is open each day from 08:30 to 19:00, with the last entry being around an hour before sunset. That means you can arrive as late as 18:00 in the summer but may find you need to enter the Forum by 16:00 in the peak of winter.
Choosing a ticket
It’s strongly advised that you buy your Roman Forum tickets online and in advance of your trip to avoid disappointment at the gate. There is a €2.00 reservation fee for this, but it’s well worth it to guarantee your entry to the Roman Forum.
Now for the good news. Not only will a ticket get you in the Roman Forum, but you’ll also be able to access Palatine Hill and the Colosseum on the same day too! With the three being side by side, it’s a good idea to plan your visit to these attractions around one another anyway, and this ticket lets you do just that.
Here are the most recent prices for entry to the Roman Forum:
Children will still need a ticket for their entry, so don’t forget to include them on your booking. There are also pricier tickets available which will grant you priority access and guided tours, should you wish.
The long-lost heart of the Roman Empire, you certainly won’t forget your visit to the Roman Forum.
Taking the train to Rome
Italy is blessed with a fantastic high-speed railway network, making it easy to travel to Rome by train. Roma Termini is the main railway station in the capital and it's served by several speedy services, including Trenitalia's Frecciarossa services and Italo trains.