After leaving the colosseum, I headed across the road to the Roman Forum, having to wait in a queue of people with tickets until I could enter. It did not take very long but was a bit annoying to have to re-queue but I entertained myself until I could finally enter. As with the colosseum, I had downloaded the free audio guide of the roman forum from Rick Steve's website.
The Roman Forum is a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings.
Above is the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, the largest building of the Roman Forum built in 312 AD. The basilica is a marvel of Roman engineering as at the time of its construction it was the largest structure to be built
It was a lot of fun walking through all the ruins and seeing them in person. You can touch them, they aren't hidden behind glass or behind ropes.
Above and below the Temple of Romulus.
Above is the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, started in 141 AD by the Emperor Antoninus Pius, he dedicated the temple to his deceased and deified wife, Faustina the Elder. When Antonius Pius died, the temple was re-dedicated to join the two deities by Antonius' successor, Marcus Aurelius.
Above is the Temple of Julius Caesar, built in 29 AD. Julius Caesar was the first resident of Rome to be deified and so honoured with a temple by his adopted son Augustus.
Above the Temple of Castor and Pollux, built in 495 BC and dedicated to the twin sons of Zeus and Leda.
Above is the Temple of Vesta, a circular temple, the entrance facing east to symbolize connection between Vesta's fire and the sun as sources of life.
This grassy area and the ruins behind was the House of the Vestal Virgins, located just behind the Temple of Vesta. A vestal virgin was a young girl consecrated to Vesta and vowed to chastity, sharing the charge of maintaining the sacred fire burning on the goddess's altar. A vestal virgin was sworn to celibacy for 30 years.
Above is the large Arch of Septimius Severus, an arch dedicated in AD 203 to commemorate the victories against the Parthians.
Looking towards Palatine Hill, which stands 40 meters above the Roman Forum. Recent excavations of Palatine Hill show that people have lived there since approximately 10,000 BC. Many affluent Romans had their residences there as well as several emperors. The ruins of the palaces of Augustus, Tiberius and Domitian can be seen on the Hill.
Above the ruins of the Stadium of Domitian, also known as the Circus Agonalis. The stadium was built in 86 AD by the Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus as a gift to the people of Rome. It looks like you were once able to walk along the stadiums grassy area and you can see that it is kept manicured.
The view of the Colosseum and Roman Forum from Palatine Hill is amazing. You can see all over the ancient ruins and gives you an idea of what the people who lives on Palatine Hill saw when everything was in tact.
The visit to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill was a perfect start to my birthday. I had a really good time in all three areas of ancient Rome and I think the price is worth it but I recommend getting to the sites earlier as I saw a lot more people arriving and crowding the forum as I was making my way to the exit.