Roma Antiqua

The locations of all places are shown on my Google-Earth Map

From the Forum Romanum and the Campodoglio, to Circus Maximus and the Colisseum

The Forum Romanum
8th cent BC - 320 AD

The ruins of the Roman Forum

A Link to an extensive illustrated guide to the Forum Romanum

The famous historical map of Rome from my Great-grandfather Heinrich Kiepert's Atlas Antiquus” (1869).

See it as an Overlay on the Google-Earth Map

The earliest shrines and temples were located at the southeastern edge of the Forum. These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.

Eventually much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures (Trajan's Forum and the Basilica Ulpia) to the north. The reign of Constantine the Great, during which the Empire was divided into its Eastern and Western halves, saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex the Basilica of Maxentius (312 AD). This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire almost two centuries later..

Capitol Hill
7th cent BC - 1540 BC

The Capitoline Hill between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel (equivalent of the Greek acropolis) of the earliest Romans. The summit was the site of a temple for the Capitoline Triad, started by Rome's fifth king, Tarquinius Priscus (r. 616-579 BC).

The existing design of the Piazza del Campodoglio and the surrounding palazzi were created by Michelangelo Buonarotti in 1536-1546. At the height of his fame, he was commissioned by Pope Paul III, Farnese, who wanted a symbol of the new Rome to impress Charles V, who was expected in 1538.

In the distant background the quadriga on the pompous Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II can be seen. This macchina scrivere or more abusive pisciatoio nazionale was begun 1911 and finished in 1935 under Mussolini.


Michelangelo's first designs for the piazza and remodelling of the surrounding palazzi date from 1536. He reversed the classical orientation of the Capitoline, in a symbolic gesture turning Rome's civic center to face away from the Roman Forum and instead in the direction of Papal Rome and the Christian church in the form of St. Peter's Basilica.

Circo Massimo
494 BC

The Circus Maximus was the Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue. It measured 621 m in length and 118 m in width, and could accommodate about 150,000 spectators. In its fully developed form, it became the model for circuses throughout the Roman Empire. The site is now a public park - just a large grass field still used for political demonstrations....

The Colisseum
70 - 96 AD

The inside of the Colisseum

Its name "Amphitheatrum Flavium" derives from both Vespasian's and Titus's family name (Flavius, from the gens Flavia). Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts in the area around the Colisseum.

There exists a practical Wiki-Guide of the area

The Pantheon, the Temple of Hadrian, the Terme of Diocletian, the Castro Pretorio

The Pantheon
126 AD

The Pantheon (Greek:"to all gods") was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian around 126 AD
The Pantheon's dome is the first and still the largest unreinforced concrete dome. A hemisphere, the height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle being the same, 43.3 metres.
If you're in Rome and it happens to be raining, you should definitely go to the Pantheon to see the rain pouring into the building through the hole in the ceiling, and that's a rather unique view. When it starts raining the center of the Pantheon is separated by a rope but you can walk around the drops falling in the middle of the building. There are holes in the ground that drain the water.

Terme di Diocleziano
306 AD

Museo Nazionale Romano nelle terme di Diocleziano in Viale Enrico De Nicola
Diocletian's Baths, dedicated in 306 AD, were the largest and most sumptuous of the imperial baths. They have been all but buried by Rome's Central RR station.

Castro Pretorio
23 AD

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) Veduta degli avanzi del Castro Pretorio nella Villa Adriana

The "Castra Pretoria" were built between 21 and 23AD at the borders of the city of Rome. During Pope Pius IX's time De Merode committed the building of barracks in this area. Today, Castro Pretorio has been replaced by the modern palace of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale.

The Area between Campo dei Fiori, the Theater of Marcellus, and the former Ghetto .

Largo di Torre Argentina
3rd cent BC

Largo di Torre Argentina is an archeological area that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the remains of Pompey's Theater. It is located in the ancient Campus Martius.
The name of the square derives from the nearby Torre Argentina, which takes its name from the city of Strasbourg, which was then called Argentoratum. In 1503, in fact, the Papal Master of Ceremonies Johannes Burckardt from Strasbourg built a house on via del Sudario (now at number 44), called Casa del Burcardo, part of which is the tower.
The largo is home to a large number of cats who are tended by the local animal rights organization. (Purportedly a jab at Mussolini who excavated the area and hated cats.)

Theater of Pompey
52 BC- 15th cent AD

Reconstruction of the huge Theater of Pompey. It occupied today's three-by-four blocks between the Campo dei Flori and the Largo Argentina.

The Teatro di Pompei was financed by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus to gain political popularity during his second consulship. Construction began in 55 BC but dedicated early in 52 BC It was the largest and first specifically Roman theater. It retained Pompey's name throughout its active history of more than 600 years.

Despite the varied and long history of the theater, it is infamous as the place of Julius Caesar's assassination on 15th March 44 BC by the Liberatores of the Roman Senate and elite.

Portico di Ottavio
2nd cent BC

The Portico di Ottavio replaced the "Portico of Metellus" (porticus Metelli) of the second century BC , It consisted of a porch surrounding the temples of Juno Regina and Jupiter Stator. The remains now visible belong to a reconstruction from the time of Septimus Severus .

Theater of Marcellus
13 BC

Space for the theatre was cleared by Julius Caesar, who was murdered before construction could be begun; the theatre was so far advanced by 17 BC that part of the celebration of the ludi saeculares took place within the theatre; it was completed in 13 BC and formally inaugurated in 12 BC by Augustus.
In the middle ages the Savelli owned it (13th cent). Later, in the 16th century, the residence of the Orsini, designed by Baldassare Peruzzi, was built atop the ruins of the ancient theatre. Now the upper portion is divided into multiple apartments, and its surroundings are used as a venue for small summer concerts. - An inhabited Roman theater! The center of the old ghetto.

Former Jewish Ghetto
16th-19th cent AD

In 1904 the Jews of Rome were granted full freedom.

Street Scene

The 19th-cent synagoge near the river

Augustus' Tomb, Ara Pacis, and the Castello di Sant'Angelo

Mausoleum of Emperor Augustus
28 BC

This Mausoleum was built by Emperor Augustus in 28 BC for himself in the form of a stone ring covered by an earth mound. The urns of Augustus, Marcellus, Octavia, Agrippa, Drusus and other members of the Julian Claudian dynasty were revered here. In the Middles Ages the building served as citadel of the Colonna family. It was destroyed by Pope Gregor IX in 1241. Until 1936 concerts were performed in the building. Excavations began in 1926 and all later additions were removed from the building.

Ara Pacis
13 BC

The Augustean Altar in the museum enclosure of Richard Meier (2006).

Ara Pacis, the Altar of Peace, was commissioned by the Roman Senate on 4 July 13 BC to honor the triumphal return of Augustus from Hispania and Gaul. It is universally recognised as a masterpiece. Mussolini put the altar into an enclosure in the Mausoleum of Augustus. Richard Meier was commisioned to build the present housing and has not found peace since. - The mayor of Rome threatened to destroy it....

Castello di Sant'Angelo
138 AD

The Castello di Sant'Angelo,was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. In the 14th cent the popes converted the structure into a castle. Pope Nicholas III connected it to St. Peter's Basilica by a covered fortified corridor called the Passetto di Borgo. The fortress was the refuge of Pope Clement VII from the siege of Charles V's Landsknechts during the Sack of Rome (1527), in which Benvenuto Cellini describes strolling the ramparts and shooting enemy soldiers.

Hadrian's tomb seen from the bridge at night.

South: Terme di Caracalla, the Pyramid of Cestius, to Via Appia Antiqua

Terme di Caracalla
212-216 AD

The Baths of Caracalla were built between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla.

Pyramid of Cestius
18-12 BC

The pyramid was erected about 18 BC-12 BC as a tomb for Caius Cestius, a magistrate and member of one of the four great religious corporations in Rome, the Septemviri Epulonum.

Ostia Antica
23 AD
Long a favorite place of Cornelius

If you come from Rome by subway, get off at Ostia Antica Station - and run!
Open from 08.30. Closing time varies according to the season. Fee:Euro 6,50.