One of the most significant archeological sites on Earth, the Roman Forum was the central piazza of Rome as it developed from disjointed settlements on the hills to one of history's greatest civilizations. By the 8th century this center of public life was falling into ruin and much of it was torn down to build feudal castles by the time the Middle Ages came to pass. Preservation became a priority thereafter, which is much of the reason why nearly five million visitors a year are able to glimpse so much of ancient Rome.
Still at the literal center of the modern city, there are numerous, exceptional examples of ancient Roman architecture and art to be found here, including nine temples, the oldest of which is the Temple of Vesta, built in the 7th century BC. There are also many old government buildings and artistic flourishes like statues, basilicas, arches and other shrines, some whose significance is lost in history. Half-crumbled edifices remain, but they are more than enough to inspire an image of Rome during its glory. For a full list of the monuments that remain in the Roman Forum, go here, or sate your historical interests in a visit the Forum Museum located near the Colosseum. Whether its your first or hundredth foray into the beginnings of Western civilization, the Forum unquestionably deserves a day of exploration. Just be sure to enter from the Campidoglio, where the bird's eye view is a spectacular way to first view this staple of Roman history.