Eden Walks Blog

Things to do in Rome

10 facts you should know about Roman ruins


    In its struggle to become a power, Rome had to fight always different enemies the 3 columns of the forum are a symbol of it. When he had to fight against the Etruscans and the Latins, two beautiful ones were seen during the battle


     young men at the head of the cavalry and made it win at the same time two identical young men were seen entering the forum to make their horses drink, they were the twins Castor and Pollux the Dioscuri sons of Jupiter to whom a temple was dedicated of which only remain the three columns. The temple at the time was impressive, it appeared five centuries before Augustus and the Senate met several times, it was the seat of the weights and measures office and here the changes were fixed. It was also known why the fathers gave their children names here.



    A short distance away stood one of the most revered temples in Rome, the Temple of Vesta where the Vestals were located where the sacred fire of Rome was kept and did not keep a statue but the fire that evoked it, destroyed several times by the fire. The current appearance is due to Giulia Domna wife of Septimius Severus who ordered its reconstruction. It was round because it recalled the ancient huts with a hole on the top for the escape of smoke, it had a frieze that recalled symbols connected to the cult: bucrania, ponytails, jugs, mirrors and olive branches.

    In an underground compartment were kept the objects that Aeneas would have brought back from Troy including Palladio, the statuette of Minerva to guarantee the universal dominion promised to Rome.

    Next to it was the House of the Vestals where the 6 priestesses lived, a kind of convent with a courtyard in the center of the pools and a portico around it. Consecrated to the cult of the goddess, they were chosen from among the patrician families, they were girls between 6 and 10 years old and had to respect chastity for 30 years otherwise they would have been brought to the Quirinale area (campus scelleratus) and buried there alive in an underground chamber with a lamp and let it starve. However, they had many privileges and were revered with all honors. The fire kept in the temple should never go out, the flame was a symbol of eternity and as long as it remained lit Rome would exist. And if by misfortune he died, the guilty vestal would be sacrificed to the goddess. The order of the vestals was so respected that it continued to exist even after the advent of Christianity, it only became extinct in the fourth century AD. C. Two treasures were hidden in the remains of their house, the first consisted of 397 gold coins and was buried during the fifth century; half a millennium later, an official of the pope hid 835 silver coins to protect them from looting.

    Rome became more and more powerful and the forum became the symbolic place of the city. SPQR (Senatvs PopvlvsQve Romanvs) the Senate was located in the Curia and has remained intact because it was transformed into a church in the 7th century AD. C. The entrance portal was in sculpted bronze. What we see is a copy because it was moved to the secondary door of San Giovanni in Laterano. The environment was very bright thanks to the large windows, and the polychrome marble, even the floor was made of marble from all over the world. In the Republican age, the fate of Rome was debated here; it was here that the most important decisions were made; becoming a senator was an honor reserved for those who had held important positions.


    The Senate from the beginning was made up of fathers of families, that is, those with more experience; the term derives from senex (elderly) but you could become a member from the age of 32 and it was a life-time office.

    The senate usually met on the 3rd, 9th and 15th day of each month, voting was by majority and we moved from one top to the other of the classroom depending on whether we were in favor or against the subject. he was struggling.



    With the end of the Republic the 


     senators gradually lost importance, the senate had to submit to the will of the emperor. It was the longest-running institution in Roman history, it remained active even after the collapse of the Western empire even though it remained a small municipal assembly. When the senator went to the senate and crossed the forum he was recognized by the red shoes (calcei); they had sumptuous residences as evidenced by the domus found under Palazzo Valentini.

    In 64 Ad a fire devastated the entire area, on the night of July 18 a spark flared up from the Circus Maximus and spread quickly, creating the largest fire in the history of Rome. The capital burned for 6 days and to follow for another 3 days it flared up in the properties of Tigellinus, prefect of the praetorium and right arm of Nero, his home ended up in smoke. Nero takes the opportunity to confiscate the area and to build his pharaonic residence which draws on him the suspicions of having started the fire. The Domus Aurea extended over 3 of the 7 hills (Palatine, Esquiline and Celio), nothing like this had ever been seen and will never be seen in Rome. The facade alone measured over 400 meters, the rooms were more than 150. The palace was surrounded from a forest of 80 hectares where fallow deer, deer and wild boar roamed free, there were streams and a pond while a colossal statue that depicted Nero as the sun god stood in the center of the complex. But even the Domus Aurea was destined to leave few traces of itself, Nero commits suicide in 68 and his successors remove his works. The lake where the Colosseum was later built was also drained. Vespasian thus returned to the people an area that had been used privately by Nero.


    One of the most evocative monuments of the Forum is the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, built in the 2nd century AD. century by the emperor Antoninus Pius to dedicate it to his wife who died prematurely and was deified.

    The columns are of cipollino marble and in the upper part you can see the grooves of the ropes with which they tried to fall, the temple was then transformed into the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda.




    Many different qualities and colors over 50 different, from Turkey came the purple marble and the pavonazzetto (in great demand, light with black veins) from Tunisia the yellow one, in the quarries of Greece they extracted marbles with iridescent colors such as black, green and red red granite from Egypt. Extract from convicts sentenced to forced labor.

    Travertine was extracted a few kilometers from Rome, on the Tiburtina near Tivoli, more porous and coarser than marble was the white gold of imperial Rome which was rebuilt with this stone. The marble represented the greatness but also the condemnation of the forum, from the Middle Ages onwards it was in fact demolished to plunder it of its marbles. For centuries the travertine was pulverized to obtain lime, the finest marbles were reused to create the works of Renaissance and Baroque Rome.

    Between the Via Sacra and the Clivo Palatino there is a very particular site 50 cells (the ergastula), perhaps they were the rooms for the slaves of the family of Marcus Aurelius Scaurus praetor, consul and censor husband of Cecilia Metella, of which the sumptuous house rose above.


     But perhaps they were the rooms of an inn or perhaps a brothel where you could go with prostitutes.

    Roman civilization owes its place in history also to its legions, which protected and allowed the expansion of Rome. There is a monument in the forum that shows us the faces of the most powerful army of antiquity. The arch was commissioned by the emperor in 203 AD. to celebrate the victory over the parts of Rome's bitter enemies (located between Iraq and Iran); it is an arch with three arches over 20 meters high and entirely covered in marble. On top there was a bronze quadriga, in the decoration there are battle scenes, the emperor's speech, the river gods and the seasons. The enemy leaders appear in chains and we do not know what happened to them


    In the forum Rome celebrated its victories, the final stop was the Capitol and the arches of Triumph were placed in the Via Sacra. The arch of Titus (saved from being incorporated into the medieval fortifications of the Frangipane) was erected by Domitian in honor of his brother Tito, who was deified on the outside winged victories and a continuous frieze with the triumphal procession, inside a coffered vault with the apotheosis of Titus carried to heaven by an eagle. It was all painted. In the two internal panels we see how the parades took place, the goddess Rome drives the horses of Titus's chariot followed by the personifications of the senate and the Roman people. In the background you can see the fasces, the arch was erected to celebrate the triumph over the Jews in 70 and 71 AD. when the Roman legions put down the revolt that broke out in Palestine and besieged Jerusalem. On that occasion the Temple of Solomon was destroyed of which only one wall remains, the wailing wall.

    The soldiers carry the booty among which the 7-branched candelabrum (the menorah) stands out, the route of the procession of triumphs was precise and was intended to show the strength of Rome. It was made up of prisoners in chains, captured loot and exotic animals with painted signs describing the battles. Next to the victorious general there was a slave who held a laurel wreath suspended over his head and repeated a warning in his ear "Remember you are a mortal".

    The gold brought as booty from the various battles won by the Roman legions was melted, in the case of Trajan the chronicles speak of tons of gold that was part of the famous treasure of Decebalus. By loot, however, also meant works of art from the subjugated countries.