Soak up the atmosphere of ancient Rome in the heart of modern Rome and discover more than 2,000 years of fascinating history that has influenced not only the Rome of today but the world. The area of Ancient Rome encompasses the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, the Roman and Imperial Forums and Palatine Hill, which is said to be where Romulus founded Rome in the 8th century BC.
Traffic-choked streets surround the incredible spectacle of the Colosseum and pavement-side cafés filled with locals and tourists sit alongside ancient monuments. It is this mix of history set within a vibrant metropolis that draws visitors to a Rome break and to the historic centre in particular. Best explored on foot, each step will take you past ancient buildings and iconic sites, enveloping you in Rome’s spectacular past.
What’s great about Ancient Rome?
Its excellent location right at the heart of modern Rome ensures many of the city’s other important sights are within walking distance, such as the Campo de’Fiore and Trastevere. Good transport links means the Vatican City and the Spanish Steps can easily be reached.
The area of Ancient Rome is quiet after dark when the majority of tourists leave, so it’s ideal for families or couples wanting a peaceful location, but it may not be so suitable for a younger crowd looking for a lively night out.
What to see and do in Ancient Rome
One of Rome’s greatest attractions and one of the most famous monuments in the world, the Colosseum oozes history and is an extraordinary building built on a grand scale. Once capable of holding 55,000 Roman spectators, many would come to the Colosseum to watch gladiator fights or executions. Today all you’ll have to fight with is the queue to get inside.
The largest stadium in ancient Rome, the Circus Maximus was big enough to allow a staggering 250,000 people to watch the chariot races it was famous for. There’s been a structure on the site since the 6th century BC but it was rebuilt with stone and marble in AD 103. The site is now mostly grassland, however the structure of the stadium remains, allowing visitors to get a sense of how impressive it once was.
Located between the Roman Forum and Circo Massimo, the Palatine is the area that Rome’s emperors once resided in and was ancient Rome’s wealthiest neighbourhood.
The Roman and Imperial Forums
Built between 42BC and 112AD, the ruins of the Imperial Forums were mostly buried by the Via dei Fori Imperiali, a road constructed in 1933 by Mussolini. The Roman Forum, the most famous and oldest of Rome’s forums, are impressive ruins of what would once have been a civic and religious centre as well as a covered market at the heart of Roman life.