The Colosseum was such an impressive site, but it’s only 1 part of a larger array of roman ruins.
There are 2 additional sites which are both included in your Colosseum ticket. The first is the Roman Forum, which was the heart of the Ancient Rome. The ruins are mostly fallen, just rubble, like below. The 3 columns on the right are the remnants of the Temple of Castor and Pollux.
Some of the ruins are so magnificent though. This is the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine below. It was the largest building in the forum and was a combination of a court-house, council chamber and meeting hall. This is just a 3rd of the building still standing.
One of the most well preserved buildings at the forum is the Curia Julia, aka the Senate House. It was built in 44BC by Julius Caesar but isn’t where he was killed. The senate was being held at another venue that day. The reason this building is in such good condition is because it was used as a basilica from the 7th century.
The second site of roman ruins next to the Colosseum is Palatine Hill – overlooking the busy and packed Roman Forum where the rich and powerful had their homes. And up there, they had this magnificent view of the Roman Forum.
One of the sites up there was the large Flavian Palace. It was a vast residential complex of the Roman Emperors completed in 92BC. The complex really was massive, with its own bath house and a series of large state rooms.
There were more aquaducts that would’ve brought water into the palace complex back in the day.
Alongside the palace complex is a central area called the Greek Stadium – basically where they would have smaller sporting events like foot races. It’s quite decorative, so may also have been used as a social area like a modern day piazza.
The palace complex overlooked the Circus Maximus, the huge chariot racing grounds. Of course, its not too impressive now. It’s a a fairly sorry stretch of grass, but it used to seat 250,000 spectators at its peak!
Palatine Hill was amazing, and its such a large site with so much uncovered. But, my one regret with going to the Palatine Hill, was that we’d gone on the wrong day. Tuesday is the day when the House of Augustus and the House of Livia were closed so archaeologists can continue to uncover new parts of the ruins. They were only recently uncovered (in the last 20 years or so) and visitors have only been allowed in much more recently than that. The frescoes are apparently beautiful.
This is what the House of Augustus looks like. Amazing colours!
This is what the House of Livia looks like. Massive rooms and beautiful frescoes. But all we could peek of the house was through a dirty window:
Ah well. Next time we go to Rome, we can revisit the Palatine Hill on anyday but Tuesday. But still, we did manage to see some fantastic frescoes at Palazzo Massimo museum.
More on that next time.