The Roman Forum: A Window to the Past

The Roman Forum: A Window to the Past

This is it…the last blog post about my spring trip to Europe with Dan! I meant to write this a lot earlier. In fact, my goal was to wrap up the Euro trip recap before 2017 arrived, but that didn’t exactly work out as planned. Is anyone else having a supremely lazy yet fulfilling start to the new year? My month has been filled with happy moments that make me smile at where I am in life and how lucky I am to have so many incredible people around me. From attending the first birthday party of my former roommate and bestie’s sweet little daughter, to seeing my best friend since childhood get married just a few days ago, it’s been a very tender month. Add in a visit from yet another bestie leading up to the wedding, working a full time day job, and Pinteresting, planning and meeting potential vendors for my own 2018 wedding, and it’s just been a very busy but exciting time in my life. Check out my Instagram to get a peek of what I’ve been up to in the meantime.

It’s probably safe to assume that my blog posts will be a little sporadic over the next year or so. I feel a little guilty prioritizing wedding planning over blog posts, but the truth is…

I want to enjoy this time and make the most of being engaged. I want to be present for the planning process, and for all the sweet little moments that happen along the way. I only have a year to savor this special time in my life, and when all is said and done, and Miss becomes Mrs, I know this blog will be here waiting for me. And then I can get to work documenting the honeymoon!

Thank you so much in advance for sticking it out with me, for coming back day after day to read my stories and check in to see what’s new. I have plenty of good stuff coming your way soon, including more local Orlando fun with my little brother Jared and some details from a very laid-back December trip to visit family in Washington. I’d also like to throw in a few posts of a more personal nature, be it wedding planning or just little snapshots of my life outside of travel and blogging. But before we get into all that, let’s wrap up Euro Trip 2016 and take a tour of the Roman Forum, the historic site that captured my heart and imagination while Dan and I were in Rome last spring.

view-of-the-roman-forum-from-the-palatine-hill

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are included in a ticket to the Colosseum, but I don’t think I’d ever really heard of either one before planning our trip to France and Italy. Now a fascinating collection of ruins, Palatine Hill is said to be the place where the very first Romans lived, and with views this this, who could blame them?

Over time, the area grew and expanded to become the center of political, business and social life for ancient Romans, with temples and shops erected in the Roman Forum below. Sporting stadiums, gardens and even palaces graced the hillside, as several of Rome’s earliest emperors and wealthy merchants called Palatine Hill home.

Today, it is a sprawling collection of ruins, the only place Dan and I found where we could leave the touristy mess of selfie-stick sellers and pushy restaurateurs and truly escape back in time to the glory days of ancient Rome. Our visit to the nearby Colosseum put us in the mood for a little walking history lesson, but it was the subsequent tour of the Forum and Palatine Hill that really captured my heart. It was the Rome I dreamed of visiting, complete with crumbled columns, courtyards full of statues in various forms of decay, and a fleeting glimpse of what life might have been like in ancient Rome.

A map of the Forum. I was glad to have snapped this before going inside, as the site was enormous! We referenced this photo several times to get our bearings and locate bathrooms as we wandered the grounds.

Come along with me as I relive our hours-long tour of the Roman Forum, relishing the little details and marveling at what remains of the former hub of this great city. (Oh, and if you haven’t already, you might want to grab a drink and get comfortable. I’m an avid over-sharer when it comes to my photos, so we’ll be here a while!)

It turns out, the Roman Forum is THE place to get a perfectly framed shot of the Colosseum!

This little walking path looped around the perimeter of the site, providing that awesome Colosseum shot above and a reprieve from all the noise and crowds of the tourist-packed streets and attractions.
Former communal living spaces, aka ancient Roman apartments.
The Palatine “Stadium” was not actually a stadium at all, but a garden! The two lines of stones were once statue bases, though the actual statues are long gone.

BRUH

The audience chamber described above. You can still make out the niches and statue bases in the walls. Imagine how grand this room might have been back in the day!

Cute little lizard spotted on our way up to the very top of the hill.
Insert heart-eyed emoji here!

Looking down into the Roman Forum. You can see the Colosseum in the upper right corner!
view-of-the-roman-forum-from-the-palatine-hill
…and a little more of the Forum to the left
One of my favorite photos from the day. The Forum itself was impressive, but being here with Dan really made it all so much more memorable.

These HUGE bunnies were everywhere! So, so cute.

How creepy is this room!? It reminds me a bit of Silent Hill, or maybe even the Upside Down from Stranger Things.

All these statues in various forms of decay give visitors a glimpse of what the Forum might have looked like in its full glory.
I could not get enough of all these beautiful textures and colors!
That viewpoint in the background is a great spot to get a big picture view of the Roman Forum. It’s where we snapped our photos from above!
As if you needed more evidence, here is proof that beauty exists even in broken down and (formerly) forgotten places.
Back to the crowds! Most of the groups and tours were clustered in main areas like the courtyard of the Roman Forum. Once we broke away from the main areas, however, we were able to wander in peace and relative solitude. The lack of tourists and the authentic feel of the Forum and Palatine Hill made this my favorite experience while in Rome.

My shoes, scuffed and dusty at the end of our two week adventure. Would you believe I’d only bought them three to four months ago!?

Dan resting his feet after several hours wandering around the Forum. We thought we were done, but somehow there was still more to be discovered!

Carefully recovered frescoes in the Forum’s Church of Santa Maria Antigua. Buried in an earthquake, the church remained hidden for over 1,000 years until its relatively recent discovery in the year 1900.

The ramp below provides access to some interesting exhibits on the excavation and restoration of the site, while the upstairs ramp leads right back out onto an exterior landing.
One final look before moving on to the next thing!

I found the site to be a fascinating and informative experience; by far my favorite tourist spot in Rome. Not only were the ruins themselves beautiful, but the story behind them and the way it was told through plaques and signs made this a truly immersive and imaginative experience. Because it is such a sprawling and historic site, I do recommend a guided tour of some sort, but if history or architecture are your thing, definitely budget some time to wander freely once the tour concludes. Since it is included in the Colosseum ticket, there is no excuse for first-time visitors to miss out on this spot! Check it out and let me know what you think.

And for those who have been to the Forum before, I’d love to know your thoughts as well! Comment below and let me know: what was the Roman site (touristy or otherwise) that blew your mind and left you wanting more?

Read more about our trip to Rome here.

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