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Ancient Rome

Introducing Ancient Rome

Located to the south of the city centre, this area contains the great ruins of the ancient city, all concentrated within walking distance of each other. They start to get crowded mid-morning and thronged with tourists until mid- to late afternoon, although in peak season they can be busy all day. Apart from the big sights, which you can comfortably cover in a couple of days, there’s little in the way of nightlife or after-hours action.

The area has two focal points: the Colosseum to the east and the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill) to the west. In between lie the forums: the more famous Roman Forum on the left of Via dei Fori Imperiali as you walk up from the Colosseum, and the Imperial Forums on the right. Rising above the Roman Forum is the Palatino, and behind that the Circo Massimo. Continuing northwest from the Circo Massimo brings you to the Forum Boarium, ancient Rome’s cattle market and river port, where you’ll find the Bocca della Verità, Rome’s mythical lie detector.

To explore the area, the obvious starting point is the Colosseum, which is easily accessible by metro. From here you could go directly up to the Roman Forum, but if you go first to the Palatino (your Colosseum ticket covers the Palatino and Roman Forum) you’ll get some wonderful views over the forums. From the Palatino enter the Forum and work your way up to Piazza del Campidoglio and the Capitoline Museums. Nearby, the mammoth white Vittoriano is difficult to miss.