September 16, 2014

The Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

What is there to say about the once-beating heart of the Roman empire that hasn't already been said?

As I surveyed the wrecked and ruined remains of marble and stone scattered haphazardly where the Palatine and Capitoline hills meet at the Roman Forum, I couldn't help but recall the words from Shelley's Ozymandias sonnet:  "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"  What once stood proudly, embossed with gold and bright paints, now lies broken.  All the power and authority which once ruled the entire civilized world is divided or dissipated - just a few broken pillars mark where the Roman Forum once stood.  And yet the legacy of Rome continues to fascinate centuries later, and arguably, all roads still lead to Rome.

Looking up at the Palatine Hill
I did find it difficult to picture what the Roman Forum would have looked like.  Unlike the Colosseum, which only needs a little bit of imagination to fill in a few missing seats, pillars or arena floor, the Roman Forum requires a stronger imagination as not much remains unbroken.

Nevertheless we spent four or five hours wandering the valley between the Palatine and Capitoline hills where one of the greatest civilizations this world has known came into existence.  Thanks to the detailed podcasts by Rick Steves (available for free download on iPhones and Android devices), we were able to refresh our knowledge about what once existed here.  Having an audio guide or book is necessary to interpret the rubble as there is limited signage.

Temple of Romulus (left) and Temple of Antonius and Faustino (right)

In the remains of the House of the Vestal Virgins

Where Julius Caesar's body was cremated

Temple of Saturn

View of the Circus Maximus from the emperor's palaces

View across the valley between Palatine and Capitoline hills

Have you visited the Roman Forum?

Linking up with Bonnie Rose and other travel bloggers for #TravelTuesday!


  1. Katrina you have such a way with words! I love how you describe the Roman Forum in those first couple of paragraphs. What an interesting idea to fill in the gaps about the site by listening to a podcast - good find! Your photos are really incredible and make me want to pack up and head to Europe ASAP. Isn't it amazing to visit places where so much history has occurred? It always makes me feel really small in the world.

    1. The history is what fascinates me most about Europe! I think many North Americans are enamored with structures and buildings that existed long, long before our countries were even discovered by Europeans!

  2. I thought the roman forum and palatine hill was lovely! It is kinda crazy to imagine what it was like to live there and how much work they did to build all that. I'm glad at least there are still remains there so we can kinda try to imagine what it was like. Thanks for sharing the pictures!
    Hsiao-Ting (

    1. It was a lot of work. Unfortunately, most of it was probably done by slaves, but I try not to think too hard about that when visiting ruins!

    2. *sigh so true but i have to say it's still amazing what human beings were able to build without machines.

  3. I haven't visited Rome at all, but I can't believe how beautiful and historical it is. Thank you for sharing!!


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments, feedback, and suggestions.