Happy 2,766th Birthday, Rome

Looking east into the Forum from the Vittorio Emanuele II monument (next to Capitoline Hill)

Looking east into the Forum from the Vittorio Emanuele II monument (next to Capitoline Hill) – you can see the Arch of Tito at the far end

Rome celebrated her 2,766th birthday Sunday, April 21, 2013. Imagine that: 2,766 years! Wow! She’s looking wonderful for such an old broad.

To celebrate this august occasion, today we’ll visit one of Rome’s most ancient places: the Roman Forum. Founded by Romulus in 753 BC, the Roman Forum was the center of Roman life from then until about 600 AD. Although I will use the term “Forum” for the Roman Forum in this post, four additional fori were built in Rome to accommodate growing crowds: the Forum of Caesar (46 BC), the Forum of Augustus (2 BC), the Forum of  Nerva (97 AD), and the Forum of Trajan (112 AD). The fori were interconnected until the early 20th century, when Mussolini built Via dei Fori Imperiale right through the center.

A beautiful relic lying on the ground

A beautiful relic lying on the ground

Wiki says the Forum “was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great [leaders]. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, [the Forum] has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archeological excavations.”

Arch of Titus

Arch of Titus

The Forum is quite small—820 feet by 558 feet (250 meters by 558 meters)—and is bounded by Capitoline Hill to the west, Palatine Hill to the south, the Colosseum to the east, and Via dei Fori Imperiale to the north. The main street of Ancient Rome, Via Sacra, winds through the Forum from the Arch of Titus at the east end to the Arch of Septimus Severus at the west end.

The best time to see the Forum is in the late fall, winter, or early spring before busloads of tourists arrive. If you can’t visit Rome then, order your tickets online so you don’t have to wait in huge, winding lines to buy them on site (a single ticket covers the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Forum). The Forum offers no shade, so load up on bottled water and sunscreen, and be patient!

Buon Natale, Roma! I hope you have 2,766 more good years.

Ciao!

P.S., This post is for Rome and also for my nephew Cade, whose one regret about his trip to Italy in summer 2012 was that we didn’t have time to visit the Forum. Here you are, Uno King!

View of the Forum from Capitoline Hill

View of the Forum from Capitoline Hill

Arch of Septimius Severus (203 AD)

Arch of Septimius Severus (203 AD)

Column of Phocas (608 AD) and Tempio di Saturno (497 BC)

Column of Phocas (608 AD) and Tempio di Saturno (497 BC)

Tempio di Castore e Polluce (Castor and Pollux), twin brothers of Helen of Troy - original temple was dedicated in 484 BC, but these columns are from a reconstruction in 12 BC

Tempio di Castore e Polluce (Castor and Pollux), twin brothers of Helen of Troy – original temple was dedicated in 484 BC, but these columns are from a reconstruction in 12 BC

Tempio di Romolo - not the founder of Rome but the son of Maxentius. It is now the Basilica di Santi Dosma e Damiano.

Tempio di Romolo – not the founder of Rome but the son of Maxentius. It is now the Basilica di Santi Cosma e Damiano.

Tempio di Romolo

Tempio di Romolo

Fresco in the Tempio di Romolo

Fresco in the Tempio di Romolo

Tempio di Vesta

Tempio di Vesta

According to Wiki, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins were priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. They cultivated a sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. The Vestals were freed from the usual social obligations to marry and bear children and took a vow of chastity.

According to Wiki, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins were priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. They cultivated a sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. The Vestals were freed from the usual social obligations to marry and bear children and took a vow of chastity.

A statue in the Casa delle Vestali

A statue in the Casa delle Vestali

A statue in the Casa delle Vestali

A statue in the Casa delle Vestali

Looking toward Palatine Hill from the Casa delle Vestali

Looking toward Palatine Hill from the Casa delle Vestali

Top of the Tempio di Antonino e Faustina (138-161 AD) near the entrance to the Forum

Top of the Tempio di Antonino e Faustina (138-161 AD) near the entrance to the Forum

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I loved this photo of my friends Ed and Nikki near the Temple of Vesta, and I wanted them to use it for their Christmas card photo - but they didn't. Don't you think they should have?

I loved this photo of my friends Ed and Nikki near the Temple of Vesta, and I wanted them to use it for their Christmas card photo – but they didn’t. Don’t you think they should have?

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2 Responses to Happy 2,766th Birthday, Rome

  1. Nikki says:

    Ok Sue — that picture looked good the way you cropped it — I am NOT talented with “photo vision” — but yes — we should have used it — and might next year!!! It WAS pretty close to 2013 — though we will have Ireland and Scotland pictures to choose from!! I LOVED all the pictures of the Forum — took me right back to when we were there together — such a beautiful and fun day — THANKS TO YOU!!!

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