Like many of the key things to see in Rome, you will inevitably come across the Roman Forum and / or Palatine Hill through walking in the area around the Colosseum. An active imagination is especially called for when touring the ruins of what was once the heart of Roman life, as signposts are few and far between! The Forum contains archeological remnants including government buildings and shrines to pagan Gods, whilst Palatine was once the play area of the rich and famous.
Two bits of advice: Allocate yourself a bare minimum of half a day to see both (it is one giant inter-connected sprawl), and get your hands on a guidebook that best explains what you are looking at (this last item cannot be over-emphasised)!
A close-up of the Arch of Septimius Severus. After his death, his sons ruled as joint Emperors until the typical Roman eventuality – one son (Caracalla) assassinated the other (Geta) and attempted to remove all evidence of his existence!
What remains of the Temple of Saturn (God of Wealth, and associated with the Roman treasury) with the Latin inscription ‘Senatus Populusque Romanus incendio consumptum restituit’ (English: The Senate and People of Rome have restored what fire consumed). Built for the third (and last) time in 283 AD, it is one of the most visible (and therefore recognisable) items in the Forum.
The very impressive (and large) Hippodrome of Domitian. Apparently too small for chariot races (the nearby Circus Maximus filled that gap), it was either used for foot races, or as an elaborate garden.
What remains of Circus Maximus (nothing!). With a bit of imagination, you can see how up to 250,000 spectators would have crammed around the 600m track (sometimes even flooded for sea battles). One thing I couldn’t help but be in awe of – the ancient Romans knew how to put on a good show!
The Arch of Titus (built around 82 AD) to commemorate, inter alia, his victory in the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. For this reason, Roman Jews would avoid walking under the arch. In the background is the Arch of Constantine (near the Colosseum), built in 315 AD to commemorate a the victory of the Battle of Milvian Bridge.