After retiring to our apartment early on the first day in Rome, we set out relatively early the next to travel to the Forum.
The Roman Forum is a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum…
Our apartment was near the Vatican so some transfers were needed when traveling to the Forum area.
First, we hopped on a bus for a few stops to transfer to the subway. I think that tourists were the only ones that purchased transportation cards. No one else scanned anything when they boarded or got off the bus. When we arrived at our stop, we all got off but dad was still on the bus waiting for other people to exit and they closed the doors and drove off with him! We had to wait for him to get to the next stop and walk back to us.
Finally, we were off!!
The weather in Rome was hot in August so as soon as we entered the gates for the Forum, we found a nice, shady spot to sit – it even had an ancient cradle!
This was the perfect spot for Addison! We laid down the diaper pad and set her in the concave rock which kept her nice and cool. Addison was quick to make friends. She found a girl about Liam’s age and wanted to steal her dress.
Before we knew it, she was fast asleep! This girl can sleep in some interesting places!
Since this was such a nice spot on a hot day, mom and dad found themselves in the middle of the tour guide path once again and were able to listen to the guides as they stopped in the shade. It turns out that the nice stone “cradle” was actually an ancient sewer system, so we were told. Oh well.
I have since tried doing some research to see if this is correct and haven’t found anything one way or the other. Maybe someone that is more familiar with Rome and the Forum might help me out. Leave a comment to let me know! Sewer, water transport, other…?
From the entrance and our spot in the shade, we took the Via Sacra (Sacred Road) to explore the Forum. The Via Sacra was the main street of Ancient Rome which started at the Colosseum, ran through the Forum, and ended at the top of the Capitoline Hill. It was built in the 5th century BC and was later paved with the large stones that you see here.
You’re walking where the greatest generals of the Roman Empire marched in the Roman Triumph (a parade which celebrated military victory) where captured enemy leaders, soldiers, weapons, loot, and finally, the triumphant general in his chariot would strut through town.
To qualify for a triumph, a military leader had to kill at least 5000 people and gain territory for Rome. Rome expanded so much, that it celebrated 70 triumphs in only 200 years from about 100 BC to 100 AD.
The beautiful Arch of Titus commemorated the Roman victory over the province of Judaea (Israel) in 70AD. After the Israelites wouldn’t worship the emperor as a god, the Romans destroyed and pillaged their city, leaving nothing but the outer wall (known today as the “Wailing Wall”) and bringing home with them, 50,000 Jewish slaves who would later build this arch and the Colosseum.
My sister and I enjoyed looking at all of the detailed reliefs. The south panel (the one behind our heads) depicts the spoils taken from Jerusalem where the golden Menorah is the focal point of the carving. The menorah depicted on the Arch served as the model for the Menorah used on the emblem of the state of Israel. It was also the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris!
The walk around the Forum could take the better part of a day. With the kids, we spent a few hours. There was so much green space for Liam to explore!
Coming from the relatively new nation of the United States where “old” is only several hundred years, I find it amazing that there are so many remnants of historic buildings, ruins and carvings that are just “lying around” that were built in the 7th century BC!!!! Because they are just lying around, Liam loves to crawl and climb all over them (and Addison can apparently sleep on them)!
I had to include this picture below. Note the crazy bug bites on his legs and watch how they move as we travel. Apparently the Roman mosquitoes like the leg area.
The Forum was, for centuries, the center of Roman public life. Here, statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history! We felt so insignificant in the grand scheme of time walking through this amazing square.
The kids were so tired from walking around the Forum that they fell asleep and Adam and I had to carry them to the metro, on the train, and the walk back to the apartment. They woke, just in time for Adam and I to not get a nap. And so the travel saga continues…