It was the epicenter of social and economic life during the Roman Empire: it housed houses, temples, palaces and squares where Romans gathered.
It is next to the Colosseum and is one of the essential visits in Rome. Of course, get tickets in advance to avoid the huge queues of tourists that form at its gates.
How to buy tickets for the Roman Forum
Very easy: all Colosseum tickets and practically all guided tours also include access to the Roman Forum, so you won't need a different ticket or pay extra for this visit.
However, the best advice I can give you to get tickets to the Roman Forum is not to delay too much and buy them online and in advance: being one of the most popular and most visited places in the city, tickets are highly coveted.
At the ticket office there are usually long lines that you will have to endure under the sun, so if you can, buy them in advance and online. Online you can compare schedules, rates, types of guided tours and you will ensure a place for the day and time you want to make the tour of the Roman Forum.
How much do tickets to the Roman Forum cost?
As I mentioned, the price is included in the entrance tickets and guided tours of the Colosseum: to give you an idea, a three-hour guided tour of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill costs about 46 € at Hellotickets.
At all times you will be accompanied by a guide who will explain the history of the place, how life was in Ancient Rome and to which buildings correspond some of the archaeological remains that you will see during your walk through the Forum.
If you just want to buy a standard ticket and walk through the Forum on your own, the entrance to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum costs 17 € at the box office, but you know that the queues that await you can be kilometers long. In addition, without a visit you would miss much of the context of what you are going to see. In that case I would recommend that you hire an audio guide separately.
See more details on how much it costs to access the Roman Forum in my article on ticket prices to the Colosseum.
Is it worth taking a guided tour of the Roman Forum?
Yes, very much so. If in the Colosseum we already recommend guided tours, in the Roman Forum it is even more essential. Keep in mind that much of what you will see are ruins and archaeological remains.
Although some of them are very well preserved, the vision and explanations of an expert guide will help you to mentally reconstruct the buildings. You will understand what daily life was like during the Roman Empire, what their main hours were dedicated to and how social life developed in the Forum.
A journey through time that would be a pity to miss if you just stroll through its narrow streets without understanding what you are seeing.
How much time do I need to visit the Roman Forum?
Whether you do it on your own or with an expert guide, it will take you at least an hour and a half to walk the entire route.
Along the way you will stop to see the most important buildings, stroll along the Via Sacra, marvel at the Arch of Triumph and Trajan's Column...
The Roman Forum is full of wonders that will catch your attention (and that of your camera) so do not take this visit as a sightseeing tour but as a relaxing walk while you travel back in time.
In fact, the Colosseum ticket allows you to visit the amphitheater and the Roman Forum on different days, so if you do not feel like doing both visits in a row, do not hesitate to come back another day to enjoy it more and make the most of the Roman Forum. It is a possibility that comes in handy if you are going to spend more than 3 days in Rome.
Of course, once you enter the Forum, you will not be able to reuse that ticket, so you will have to think carefully when you want to use it.
In my opinion, both visits can be done in an afternoon or a morning (unless you are an expert in history or art and want to stop in detail in every corner).
I have made a small practical guide on the duration of the visit to the Colosseum and the entire archaeological area of the Roman Forum that can help you organize your visit.
Can I visit the Roman Forum for free?
The Roman Forum, despite being in the open air, is enclosed and is paid, so you will need a ticket to access it. However, on the first Sunday of every month, both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum open their doors free of charge to all visitors who dare to visit them.
Keep in mind that the influx on those days is usually massive, so if you do not feel like making this visit surrounded by thousands of tourists, my recommendation is to flee from those dates and buy a ticket to visit them on your own during the week with more tranquility.
If you still want to keep the budget low, there is an option to have a good panoramic view of the Forum (from further away, of course) for free. From the Via dei Fori Imperiali (pedestrianized all day on Sundays), which connects Piazza Venezia with the Colosseum, you will have an elevated view of much of the Forum, one of the best views in Rome. You will not be able to delve into the details but you will get an idea of the dimensions of what Ancient Rome was.
Another key point that I recommend even if you have visited the Forum inside, is the view from the Campidoglio Hill, where the Capitoline Museums are located: there you will not find so many tourists, you will be much quieter and if you go at sunset, the light is perfect. Enjoy it!
When is the best time to visit the Roman Forum?
Early in the morning is definitely the best time: keep in mind that there is hardly any shade in this area, so during the central hours, the heat will be too much and the visit could become more uncomfortable.
On the other hand, large groups of visitors tend to arrive later, so if you get up early you will most likely be able to avoid them. If you can, if possible, avoid weekends or holidays, when the Colosseum and its surroundings are also crowded with national tourists.
Tips for visiting the Roman Forum
If you want your visit to the Roman Forum to be a relaxing walk and enjoy it to the fullest, keep a few things in mind:
- Wear comfortable shoes. the ground is cobblestone or covered with sand, so I would avoid uncomfortable shoes, heels or sandals that do not fit the foot well.
- Protect yourself from the sun: with refreshments, caps, hats and sunscreen. Believe me, even if you don't travel in summer, the temperature (or wind chill) here is more oppressive than in the rest of the city.
- Buy tickets in advance to avoid queues: the long lines at the gates of the Forum and the Colosseum can be kilometers long. Buy tickets online to avoid entering the Forum already tired.
- Beware of tourist traps: the restaurants are neither the best nor the cheapest (I recommend my article on where to eat near the Colosseum). Beware also of men dressed as gladiators: they will approach you kindly to greet you but if you take a picture with them they will ask you for a tip afterwards.
- Be wary of unofficial guides or tickets: the area around the Colosseum is full of touts or unofficial guides who will offer you tickets and guided tours at "bargain" prices. Be wary of anything they offer you because you may be disappointed if the tickets are not valid or the tour is not what you expected.
If you want more tips or details about it, do not hesitate to consult my article with tips for visiting the Colosseum.
Visit the Roman Forum with children
Visiting the Roman Forum with children is highly recommended. They will enjoy the fascinating stories of Ancient Rome, they will let their imagination fly by mentally reconstructing temples, buildings and squares and they will feel like the protagonists of a movie.
There is a virtual tour in which the guide provides them with virtual reality glasses that help them to reconstruct everyday scenes of the Forum. They will be amazed!
If you are thinking of going to Rome as a family, you might be interested in reading my article about visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum with children.