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The Forum of Augustus

The Forum of Augustus is one of the imperial forums in the center of historic Rome and this guide will share the history and describe a great nighttime tour.

Forum Of Augustus - During The Day

Forum Of Augustus During The Day

The Forum Of Augustus Brief History

When you visit Rome, one of the most popular and important sites is the Roman Forum. It is so important that visitors often buy rockets that combine the Forum with the nearby Colosseum and make a day of the learning adventure. What I only recently learned about was that the Roman Forum was only one of quite a few forums.

We recently toured the Forum of Augustus (Foro di Augusto), which was built by the first Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus around the year 2 BC and it is one of the Imperial Forums (Fori Imperiali) in Rome, which also includes the Forum of Caesar (Foro di Cesare), the Temple of Peace (Tempio della Pace), the Forum of Nerva (Foro di Nerva) and the Forum of Trajan (Foro di Traiano).

What Was The Forum of Augustus Used For?

The Forum of Augustus was used as a home for a temple honoring Mars, the Roman god of war, but it was more practically used as a center of government legal affairs and of Imperial Rome. It was a meeting place for the Roman Senate in times of war and as storage of weapons and treasure recovered from battles.

forum of augustus - Viaggio nei Fori

Viaggio nei Fori Brings History To Life

Why Was The Forum of Augustus Built?

The forum was built by Augustus (a.k.a. Octavian) in order to build a temple honoring Mars after winning the battle of Philippi in 421 BC with the help of Mark Antony and Lepidus. He was able to avenge the assassination of his adoptive father Julius Caesar and planned for the temple to be built in a new forum named after himself. Augustus used the propaganda of the temple to link himself to his divine adopted father and obtain a strong link to the Roman population through their love for the deceased dictator.

Via dei Fori Imperiali In Rome

After learning more about the Imperial Forums and the Roman Forum, one question I had was: “Why is there a major road running down the middle of these forums?”. As I learn more about the history, both ancient and modern, it becomes clear that the answer was: shortsighted planning, propaganda and self-promotion.

The Via dei Fori Imperiali is a major road in the center of Rome that runs in a straight line from the Piazza Venezia to the ancient Roman Colosseum. The path of this street runs over significant parts of the Forum of Trajan, the Forum of Augustus and the Forum of Nerva, which some parts of these forums able to be seen on both sides of the road. There has been a great deal of archeological excavation on both sides of the road, as significant Imperial Roman relics remain to be found underneath it.

forum of augustus - Stairs Leading Into Forum

Stairs Leading Into Forum

The Via dei Fori Imperiali was built under the Fascist regime of Mussolini between 1924 and 1932. When it was inaugurated, Mussolini, while riding on horseback, cut the ribbon opening the road in 1932 and led a military parade down the new street. After the end of World War II, the road was renamed to its present name and every year on June 2nd, it hosts a parade in celebration of the founding of the modern Italian Republic.

The construction of this road led to the demolition of over 40,000 square yards of one of the most densely populated areas of Rome. It destroyed medieval and Renaissance structures, entire neighborhoods and popular tenements that housed 746 of Rome’s poorest families. The structures impacted included the de-consecration or destruction of churches and monasteries, the excavations of historical gardens and the razing of notable houses.

Can You Visit the Forum of Augustus?

forum of augustus - multimedia presentation

Viaggio nei Fori Multimedia

Visiting the Forum of Augustus is a fairly simple affair. Walking down Via dei Fori Imperiali surrounds you on all sides by the Roman and Imperial Forums. To view the Forum of Augustus, walk down a little side street, via Alessandrina and take a look at the columns and stairs that are along the east side of the road. 

Without additional context, it might be difficult to learn much about the Forum from a self-guided tour. We walked past this site at least weekly for the better part of a year before we decided to pay for some help to understand it a little bit better. I saw a tour of the Forum that takes place at night, and this sounded a little more interesting to me, so we made reservations for Viaggio nei Fori (Journey Into the Forums).

What Is Viaggio nei Fori?

The Viaggio nei Fori is a historical journey through the history of the Forum of Augustus. The term they used is that it is a multimedia presentation, but more specifically it is an audio and visual tour with images projected on the forum ruins that show how the various structures were built and how they interacted with themselves and the public.

forum of augustus -Imperial Forum

Lights And Projections On The Forum Walls

As described by Piero Angelo, the Italian television host who presents one of the tours available:

“The stones speak. And they tell a lot of stories. The Forum of Augustus and Forum of Caesar are important sources of information for archaeologists and for all of us. Through light effects we will reconstruct the Forum, a place at the center of many historical events in ancient Rome.”

The other presenter, Paco Lanciano, who is an Italian physicist and collaborator with Piero Angelo has his own take:

“We invite you to enjoy a cultural, educational, emotional and spectacular experience that is also original and surprising. The findings are the protagonists of this experience and technology will help us to appreciate it. You will be enchanted by real life, the ancient world, and history.”

How Long Does Viaggio nei Fori Last?

There are two separate tours, one of the Forum of Augustus and the second of the Forum of Caesar. The Forum of Augustus tour lasts around an hour, with the first showing after dark, either 8:00 PM or 9:00 PM, depending on the time of year. You can buy a combined (discounted) ticket for both presentations and the total time would be around 2 hours.

forum of augustus -Trajan’s Column

Located Next To Trajan’s Column

How Can I Get Tickets For Viaggio nei Fori?

The tickets to the Forum of Augustus presentation is available on their website with a €1.00 pre-sale fee additional. The costs are:

  • Single Ticket: € 15,00
  • Combined Ticket: € 25,00
  • Reduced Ticket: € 10,00
  • Combined Reduced Ticket: € 17,00

The reduced ticket prices are available for:

  • MIC Card holders
  • Roma Pass 48h/72h holders
  • Police Forces
  • Military
  • Journalists
  • Teachers
  • Under 26
  • Free tickets are available to visitors with disabilities and one Caregiver
  • Children under 6
  • Groups of more than 10 people
  • Licensed E.U. tour guides

More Amazing Sites Around Rome To Check Out

If you enjoyed this article about the Forum of Augustus and the tour, then here are some other articles about the amazing sites around Rome that I think you will enjoy:

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