Rome Roman Forum (Foro Romano) – Follow the path from the Coliseum to theArch of Titus , which commemorates the capture of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and is a favorite “framing” shot for thousands of artists and photographers.
Just to the right begins the Sacred Way , the surprisingly narrow cobblestone road along which victorious Romans paraded with their human spoils of war.
Continue past the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, whose towering vaultsBramante and Michelangelo noted well while planning St. Peter’s.
To the left once stood the portico of Nero’s Golden House , and ahead to the right the Temple of Romulus , whose bronze doors, framed by porphyry columns,served for centuries as the vestibule for the Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian just behind it. Next on the right is the Temple of Antonio and Faustina , whose massive columns convey the original height of theForums’ buildings, while the surreally floating door to the medieval church of S. Lorenzo indicates the ground level at the time it was built.
Across from Basilica Aemilia is the Temple of the Divine Julius, built on the site of Marc Antony’s oration and the Caesar’s cremation visitors still leave flowers here. Continue to the somber brick Curia (Roma Senate House), the home of the Roman senate, and the Comitium, where Romans gathered to argue and vote, speaking from the raised Rostra at its center.
Turn left at the Arch of Septimus Severus A stubby platform is all that remains of the Temple of Concord , dedicated in 367 B.C.,to mark the end of the five-year standoff betweenpatricians and plebeians(the plebeians insisted on the right to be elected consuls, and won).
Next to it rise three survivingcolumns of the Temple of the Divine Vespasian, the cheerful successor to the monstrous Nero, whose last astonished words before dying peacefully were, “My goodness, I think I am about to become a god!” Behind you, a low roof shields the altar of Saturn, long thought to honor Vulcan. Turn down the west side of the Forum, past the Temple of Saturn , still majestic in its ruined state;
the 12 columns of the Portico of the Dei Consentes, representing the 12 Olympian gods; and, to your left, the sacred olive, fig, and vine clustered in the open field (definitely not the originals). Continue past Basilica Giulia , and turn right into Vicus Tuscus to see the mouth of the Cloaca Maxima , the great drain that still empties into the Tiber Next to it stands the Temple of Castor, and behind it the Hall of Domitian, the Oratory of the 40 Martyrs, and thechurch of S. Maria Antiqua , the oldest church in the Forum. Just past the foundation of the Arch of Augustus , you will find yourself at theTemple of Vest a and the House of the Vestals.