It can be considered a symbol of antiquity. It was the center of the civic, juridical and economic life in Republican times. It can be reached from the Capitoline hill going down along Senators Building or behind the monument to king Victor Emmanuel II and walking along Via dei Fori Imperiali.
It was very damaged by the barbaric invasions. In 1700 the excavations brought out notable treasures of Romanic art.
On the right of its main entrance you can see the ruins of the Basilica Emilia, erected in 179 B.C. The pavement of the ancient street, called Argiletum, separates this basilica from the Curia which was the Forum's first civic center. Just behind, you can see the arch of Septimius Severus, built in 203 A.D. and still almost intact. It consists of three arcades separated by white columns. Going on there are the Rostra, that is to say, the tribunes from where Roman Orators spoke.
In front of the Rostra, you can admire the Phocas column, raised in 608 in honor of the homonymous emperor.
Not far, there is the "Via Sacra", so called because it was crossed by priests during the sacred ceremonies; it preserves partly the original paving.
Along the street, on the right, there are the Basilica Julia, made under Caesar, the temple of Saturn and the temple of Dioscuris, erected in the B.C.. Besides, you can see the temple of Vesta which has a circular plan and where a perpetual fire, symbol of eternal Rome, used to burn. In addition, you can notice the House of Vestals, where the virgins taking care of the fire lived.
Along the "Via Sacra", on the left, there are the temple of Antoninus and Faustina and the Basilica of Maxentius. The "Via Sacra" ended near the Arch of Titus.