Rome Reincarnate

Discussion in 'Europe' started by NileGuide, Feb 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Thirty years ago, the Roman Forum was like the Wild West. The 3000-plus-year old archaeological site and epicenter of Ancient Rome was practically a playground where visitors could be found counting coins on the floor of the Basilica Aemilia, climbing the steps of the Temple to Antonino Pio, and even scaling the crumbling walls of the Colosseum. Though the landscape is the still same, the visit to the Roman Forum, Colosseum and Palatine Hill has had dramatic changes. From barricaded areas, entrance tickets and new discoveries, the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici (the Italian national entity that monitors and oversees all archeological sites) has not just reigned in the romping, it has modified, opened and closed areas within and around the Roman Forum’s perimeters.
    Recently, the House of Augustus, the Colosseum’s underground levels, the bombastic Temple of Venus and Rome and, most recently, the House of the Vestal Virgins have been opened to the public. But this haste to add “new” sites neglects safety and makes the joy of visiting more of ancient history short-lived.
    Case in point: The Domus Aurea, aka Rome’s ancient revolving door. Nero’s gold palace, circa 64 AD, has opened and closed many times over the years due to structural issues. Status: Closed indefinitely.
    The Basilica Aemilia: A few years ago, a pathway was constructed through the 1st century basilica to incorporate it into the general Forum visit, but now is off-limits to visits. Status: Closed indefinitely.
    For now, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill with several amazing structures(like House of the Griffons, House of Augustus, Baths of Septimus Severus) are still “open” but with limited hours and the standing knowledge that they could shut down in an instant. The Forum and Palatine are also in archeological limbo. Several remarkable structures like the House of Livia, Santa Maria Antiqua and the Comitium are scheduled to open to the public, but when and for how long?
    All this change leads to one unchanging piece of advice: Before you visit Rome, do your research and take advantage of every opportunity to walk around, under and above the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Colosseum because it won’t be the same next time.
    Photos by Darius Arya

    Santa Maria Antiqua

    Roman Forum

    House of the Vestals

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