KLM Travel Guide

Fragments of Ancient Rome

The Forum Romanum is one of the highlights of Rome. At first glance it seems no more than a pile of stones, arches, pillars and sculptures, but appearances are deceiving: this was the heart of Rome in its glory days.

Arts & Culture
Curia Julia

Curia Julia

Curia Julia

The Curia Julia, the meeting place of the Roman senate, is the oldest building of the Forum and the only one that is practically still intact. It seems hard to imagine, but in the distant past the building was destroyed several times by fire. The senate was rebuilt time after time including once by Emperor Julius Caesar; hence the name, Curia Julia. In the 7th century the building was transformed into a church which ensured its preservation: church buildings from Ancient Rome were never demolished. It also helped that former dictator Mussolini was a great admirer of the Ancient Roman Empire. Thanks to him, numerous comprehensive restorations were completed.

The Vesta Temple

The Vesta Temple

House of the Vestal Virgins

This house comes with a remarkable story. It was built in honour of Vesta, the Goddess of Fire. The holy flame in Vesta’s temple, which can still be visited in the Forum, was maintained by 3 virgins. They lived in the Aedes Vestalium (the House of the Vestal Virgins) and served the temple for a period of no less than 30 years. They enjoyed great prestige but paid a high price; if they lost their virginity then they would be buried alive. And if the holy flame were to go out, Rome would fall and the virgins would be flogged in public.

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