The Roman Forum is a rectangular plaza located in Rome Italy surrounded by ancient Roman ruins. For centuries this area in the city of Rome served as the cultural center of ancient Rome; it is one of the main tourist attractions in Italy. The Roman Forum attracts over 4 million visitors per year. The Romans built numerous structures here including temples, government buildings, and monuments. Today the ruins of many of these structures still stand. On this page are lists of interesting facts about the Roman Forum including where it is located, why it is so famous, and what important structures are located there. This short description is written for both kids and adults.
Roman Forum Basic Facts
For centuries the Roman forum served as a site for trade, commercial activity, speeches, elections, trials, and ceremonies including magnificent triumphal processions.
The forum is located between Rome's Palatine and Capitoline Hills next to the Tiber River.
The Roman Forum's size is 820 by 560 feet (250 by 170 meters).
The area that became the Roman Forum was originally marsh land. The area was first drained by the Etruscans, who preceded the Romans in that area. The Romans later improved upon the drainage system with a sewer system named the Cloaca Maxima (Greatest Sewer).
The forum originally was an open-air market. Starting in the 7th century BC it progressively began to become a place where speeches, trials, and other public events would occur. It became known as the Comitium, which comes from the Latin word for "assembly". Eventually temples and public buildings began to be constructed there and the area began to expand.
Since the ancient Romans built new structures next to and often over previous structures this site has ruins from many periods of ancient Roman history.
Due to the fact that the forum developed over several centuries there was no master plan; new structures were added on by each successive generation leading to a certain amount of disorder in the area.
The Roman Forum was the main forum in ancient Rome; however, there were other forums located in the city, including Trajan's Forum.
The Italian name for the Roman Forum is Foro Romano.
The Building the Roman Senate met in was located in the Roman Forum.
Over time, starting around the 8th century AD the Roman Forum started to fall into ruins, stones were hauled away and used for other structures in the area. Eventually the area became a dumping ground and a field where cattle roamed.
In 1803 archaeologists began work on clearing debris from the Forum; restoration work has continued even up till today.
Roman Forum Structures
Below is a list of some of the main structures which still stand, in various degrees of ruin, in the Roman Forum