Ancient Rome · Palatine, Forum Romanum & more

You can visit ancient Rome, the oldest part of Rome, in the archaeological area around the Colosseum: the Palatine Hill, the Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla, in the north the Roman Forum, the Imperial Forums and the Capitol Hill, in the west the golden house of Neros, the Domus Aurea.

Further remains of ancient Rome are scattered throughout the city, from aqueducts to catacombs, the sites of the Roman National Museum, various pillars, temples and tombs to the basement of various basilicas.

Ancient Rome · Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Ancient Rome Palatine Hill panorama
Panoramic view from the Palatine Hill to the Colosseum

The Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome, and the oldest, since the 10th century BC populated part of Rome. Legend has it that Romulus founded his city here. The Roman Forum joins in the North. After the end of the 7th century BC the wetland was dried, it became the center of Roman public life for more than 1,000 years.

To the south of the Palatine you can see the Circus Maximus from the ruins of the Imperial Palace – Domus Augustana.

Ancient Rome View from the Palatine Hill
Panoramic view from the Palatine Hill in the Roman Forum

There were temples and public building in the Roman Forum. Among other things, the Venus Temple, the Temple of Vesta and the House of the Vestal Virgins are located here.

There are two entrances to the territory, one on the middle of the Via dei Fori Imperiali between the Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum, the other on Via di San Gregorio, which leads from the Colosseum to the Circus Maximus – and further to the pyramid. There, you can see the remains of the aqueduct of Claudius, which distributed 2 cubic meters of water per second in the metropolitan area of Rome coming from the Aniene valley, 42 miles away.

Ancient Rome · The Imperial forums

Ancient Rome View from the Capitol
Panoramic view from the Capitol on the Forum Romanum

The Imperial forums are a series of monumental places of the Roman emperors built between 46 BC and 113 AD.

The oldest Forum dating back to 46 BC is Caesar’s Forum, adjacent is the Forum of Augustus from the 2nd year BC. Under Emperor Vespasian the peace temple was built in the year 75 AD and by the emperor Domitian in the year 98 AD the Nerva Forum. In the years 112 and 113, Emperor Trajan established the forum named after him and the Trajan markets.

In the 1930s, Mussolini built Via dei Fori Imperiali cross through the Imperial forums, between the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia, and opened it in 1932. On this road he celebrated its parades, he gave his speeches from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia. The road is now traffic-calmed and is pedestrian zone on Sunday.

Coming from Piazza Venezia the markets of Trajan and the Forum are on the left. The column of Trajan is located on the Forum and depicts the history of the Dacian wars. From the Forum passing via Magnanapoli you can reach the Municipal Museum of the Imperial forums. The Forum of Trajan is connected to the older forums of Augustus and Nerva.

Coming from Piazza Venezia right the oldest Forum is located, by Julius Cäsar, as an extension of the Roman Forum. After the intersection with via Cavour on the right is the entrance to the archaeological area of the Roman Forum and the Palatine.

Ancient Rome · The Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill Rise from Piazza Venezia
Ascent to the Capitol

The Capitol borders in the north-west the archaeological area of ​​the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine. The Hill was settled only since the 6th century BC.

A beautiful story is the legend that the chatter of geese in the year 387 BC attracted the Romans and saved them from a night attack of the Gaul.

Theatre of Marcellus and synagogue
View from Piazza Caffarelli on the theater of Marcellus, and the synagogue

On the hill, the Senatorial Palace of the municipality and the Capitoline museums are located. From the Capitol, on the south side you find nice views to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, on the west side at Piazzale Caffarelli or the Caffè above, you can enjoy a beautiful view to the Renaissance Rome.

Ancient Rome · The Domus Aurea

The Domus Aurea is situated above the archaeological area of the Colosseum, Imperial Forum and Palatine Hill, in the deep of the Oppio Hill. Emperor Nero has built his Golden Palace after the fire of Rome in the year 64 on an area of approximately 80 hectares. The remnants were rediscovered in the 18th century in the underground of the Colle Oppio. They are currently being restored.

After the death of the much-hated Emperor Nero the Palace was filled up and thermal baths were erected. The rest of the area was assigned to other purposes. So, for example in the area of the Colosseum, before were an artificial lake, which belonged to the Palace of Nero. The restoration work of the Domus Aurea can be visited on weekends. The guided tours must be reserved in advanced.


In 2015, a space on the Colle Oppio was devoted, to the delight of the German Lutheran parish in Rome, the reformer Martin Luther.

Going on from the Colle Oppio in a northerly direction you will reach the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and farther to the main train station Termini.

Ancient Rome · Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano

From the Coliseum, via di San Giovanni in Laterano goes off. Passing excavations of a Gladiator school and the Dominican Basilica San Clemente this small cosy street with cosy bars, restaurants and shops leads to the Basilica of San Giovanni and the Holy stairs and onto the via Appia Nuova.

Ancient Rome · Circus Maximus

From the Colosseum, starting from the Arch of Constantine, via di San Gregorio leads you to the Circus Maximus. The second entrance to the archaeological area of the Palatine and the Imperial forums, is located on this road. If you go further on the road, you come to the ruins of the aqueduct of Claudius, which supplied the area with water. On your left, you see the Caelian Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome.

Ancient Rome Panorama Circus Maximus
Views from the Imperial Palace on the Circus Maximus

The Circus Maximus was once the largest Racecourse in Rome. Located in the Valley between the Aventine and Palatine Hill there were the first events in the 6th century BC and in the 4th century BC the first permanent facilities were built. Julius Cäsar, 46 BC, built the first brick plants.
Today, the circus is used for festivals, events and open air concerts.

Ancient Rome · The thermal baths of Caracalla

Ancient Rome In the thermal baths of Caracalla
In the thermal baths of Caracalla

From the Circus Maximus, you can go to the South in the direction of via Appia Antica and you’ll the baths of Caracalla on the right side. Built in less than thirty years in the 3rd century AD they’re one of the largest swimming and sports facilities of ancient Rome. The operation of the spas with their enormous need for water and fuel was a logistical feat.


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