Since our hotel was on its edge, we walked around the Forum – a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings, shrines and temples – many times. Citizens of ancient Rome referred to this space as the FORUM MAGNUM, or simply, the Forum. I don’t know of any better word to describe it than AWESOME.

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There were many signs designating what temple was what, but I didn’t take the time to study it. It was enough for me to know that for centuries this was the center of Roman public life.

The one temple that I did specifically seek out was the Temple of Venus, the largest and most splendid of the Forum Temples. It is just across from the Coliseum and where Francis was sitting as he led the Via Crucis prayer on Good Friday.

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The temple was dedicated to two goddesses: Venus (“the bringer of good fortune”) and Roma (“eternal Rome”). Construction began in 121; the architect was Emperor Hadrian. Interesting that Venus the goddess of Love (Amor) is Roma spelled backwards.

There are actually ruins all over Rome. Everywhere they dig, ruins are discovered and the area is declared “sacred”. Here are some photos from the Area Sacra dell’Argentina. It was discovered in 1926 during demolition work for construction of a new building. Workers discovered the remains of 4 distinctly different temples. Shortly after the discovery of this area stray cats took up residence there, protected from the surrounding traffic. It is now an animal sanctuary and home to several hundred cats. The area is a few feet below street level.

The past is visible and all around in Rome. The entire city is a museum. A few more photos of just “ruins” laying around …

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