This rich archaeological zone, rudely intruded upon by Mussolini’s Via del Fori lmperiali, contains some of the most grandiose and noteworthy of Rome’s ancient remains.
Dominating the area is the mighty shell of the Colosseum, constructed in AD 72-80 under the Flavian emperors and originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. The quarter also holds other imperial wonders, such as the Arch of Constantine, the gigantic fora of various emperors, most notably Trojan’s, and the 1st century AD folly of Nero’s Golden House, now a subterranean revelation of Roman interior design. Plans are under way to turn the area into one great archaeological park, and the broad thoroughfare crossing the zone is more and more frequently closed to traffic, as those aims are gradually realized. Top 10 Sights
Here the imperial passion for bloody spectacle reached its peak of excess. When Emperor Titus inaugurated the amphitheatre in AD 8O, he declared 100 days of celebratory games, some involving the massacre of 5,000 wild beasts. All such slaughter-as-sport was legal until AD 523.
The emperor and his visionary architect, Apollodorus of Damascus, built this attractive, very modern looking shopping and office mall in the early 2nd century AD. There were 150 spaces in all, the top floor utilized by welfare offices, the lower levels by shops of all kinds.
3.Nero’s Golden House (Domus Aurea)
This mad emperor’s self-indulgence resulted in the largest: most sumptuous palace Rome ever saw, yet it was meant only for amusement. In its heyday it covered several acres and boasted every luxu including its own forest .
4.Trajan’sForum and Column
Trajan’s Forum was so splendid that it left all who beheld it awed by its nobility, Now cut off by modern streets, all that rids out is the magnificent column , commemorating in fine graphic detail the Emperor’s victories in what is now Romania. Access to part of it is — Trajan’s Market.
This arch (right) the victory of first Christian emperor over his rival Maxentius. Yet it is a pastiche of pagan elements taken from several earlier monuments— the beautiful hunt scene roundels come from a temple dedicated to Emperor Hadrian’s male lover, Antinous.
Legend holds that St Peter was imprisoned here. Prisoners were originally dropped down through a hole in the floor and the only exit was death.
7.House of the Knights Rhodes
This 12th-century priory was owned by the crusading order of the Knights of Rhodes. Inside are the original portico, three shops and the Chapel of St John.
8.Forum of Nerva
If Pope Paul V hadn’t stripped it to build the Acqua Paola fountain in the 17th century, the main attraction here would have been the Temple of Minerva. Two Corinthian columns remain, and a frieze above, depicting the myth of Arachne.
9.Forum of Julius Caesar
The first of Rome’s Imperial Forums, Caesar’s line, the Julians, traced their ancestry back to Venus herself, so he erected the Temple of Venus Genetrix (46 BC) and placed there statues of himself and Cleopatra, his great love.
10.Forum of Augustus
Julius Caesar’s successor made the focus of his forum the Temple of Mars the Avenger, identified by the broad staircase and four Corinthian columns.
Area Guide,expect to take three hours to see everything. There are likely to be queues for the Colosseum and for Nero’s Golden House; a guided tour is mandatory, with only 30 people at a time, so booking is advised. Use the Via IV Novembre entrance to Trojan’s Markets. The other fora are viewed from Via dei Fori Imperiali.