The rain continued to fall as my parents and I descended from Palatine Hill back down to the Roman Forum. According to legend this is where the ancient city of Rome was founded and today you can still walk the same streets that Julius Caesar once strolled, though there’s little left of the buildings themselves. Similar to Palatine Hill, you’ll need some imagination to mentally reconstruct the Roman Forum and turn the ruins back into gleaming structures from Rome’s glory days.

Like many visitors, we started at the Arch of Titus and worked steadily towards the end of the Forum that’s next to Capitoline Hill. The Arch of Titus commemorates the crushing of the Jewish rebellion in AD 70 and if you look on the underside of the arch you’ll see Titus’ men carrying away a menorah, which is symbolic of the war booty they took from the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. We then briefly detoured up some stairs to an overwatch point on the south side of the Forum before coming back down to the middle area where we passed through the courtyard of the House of the Vestal Virgins. The women who lived here were priestesses that maintained the nearby Temple of Vesta and were required to remain chaste under penalty of death. After that we roughly followed the route of the Via Sacra. The remains of various temples, the old Roman Senate building, and the Forum’s main square are all clustered together in that northwestern half of the Forum. When we reached the far end of the Forum we passed by the Arch of Septimus Severus, an emperor who earned his arch with his military victories in the Middle East, and soon after that we exited the Forum to go over to Capitoline Hill.

Walking around those old ruins in the rain sort of reminded me of video games where your character is wandering the remains of an ancient civilization. The Team Ico games in particular came to mind. I would have preferred that there had been no rain that day but the weather did give the Forum an interesting ambience, and it may have kept some of the tourist crowds away.

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