The Imperial Forums ★
The Fori Imperiali—most importantly the Forum of Caesar, Forum of Augustus, and Forum of Trajan—are where where ancient Rome comes alive
The chief monuments of ancient Rome line the Via dei Fori Imperiali. (See the full ReidsItaly.com Google map of Rome here.)
Via dei Fori Imperiali
Private info site: www.capitolium.org
Imperial Forums tours
• Context: Roma Antica, from the Roman Forum to the Colosseum
• Context: Ancient Rome Discovery (for families)
• Context: Colosseum and Imperial Rome
• Rome by Night Walking Tour
• Rome by Night Coach Tour
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As Imperial Rome began outgrowing its Roman Forum core, the Imperial Forums were built by a succession of emperors (starting with Julius Caesar) in ambitious bouts of urban expansion that provided for the populace, curried favor with the elite, and improved the city infrastructure all at the same time.
Today, this collection of Fori Imperiali is neatly bisected by Via dei Fori Imperiali, a triumphal avenue from Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum laid out by Mussolini so he could parade his own glories past the decaying remnants of the Caesars. » more
Though, with the exception of Trajan's Market, the various Imperial Fori are rarely open—and you have to pay if you want to wander around down inside them—the fantastic views from above (the modern road is a good 15 feet above the ancient ground level) are absolutely free.
The Forum of Caesar
The earliest of the Imperial Fori, the Forum of Caesar (i.e.: Julius), is the only one on the west side of Via dei Fori Imperiali, tucked between the Vittorio Emanuele monument, the Capitoline, and the Roman Forum.
It was in the 1st century BC that the popular general Julius Caesar (with his eye on the dictatorship) used the money he made during his successful Gaulish wars to buy up all the private property flanking the Roman Forum at this spot, tear down the houses, and build public temples and markets in their stead.
Those three standing Corinthian columns belonged to his self-serving Temple to Venus Genetrix, a goddess from whom Caesar claimed direct descendance through Rome's legendary founder, Aeneas.
Forum of Augustus
The Forum of Augustus, part of the Fori Imperiali in Rome, Italy.As you walk from the Colosseum north and branch onto Via Alessandrina, the first major forum on your right is the Forum of Augustus.
The stairs and column stumps in the center once belonged to the 2nd-century BC Temple of Mars Ultor. When it’s open, you can follow a catwalk running along the forum’s edge to get a better view.
More dramatic are the next set of ruins:
Markets of Trajan and Trajan's Forum
The curving arc of the Markets of Trajan and, across Via Alessandrina, Trajan's Forum with its exclamation point of a its triumphal column, are the only parts of the Imperial Fori that are consistently open to the public—and as such are detailed on a separate page.
- Planning your day: You can stroll up Via dei Fori Imperiali in about 20–30 minutes. Add another 30–45 minutes if you're going to explore Trajan's Markets.
- Guided tours: For the summer of 2010, at least, the city's Estate Romana initiative (www.estateromana.comune.roma.it) ran guided tours of the Imperial Fori, including the Forums of Caesar and Trajan, four evenings each month.
- Book a tour: If you prefer a private guided tour that includes a cruise past the Imperial Forums, book one via our partners Viator.com or Context Travel:
- The Markets of Trajan and Trajan's Forum
- The Roman Forum
- More ancient sights and ruins in Rome
- More sights in Downtown Ancient Rome
- Sights on the nearby Esquiline and Viminal hills
This material was last updated April 2013. All information was accurate at the time.
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