Rome’s oldest forum, the Forum Boarium was once a busy cattle market and site of several temples, the remains of which can still be seen today. Much less famous than many of the city’s other ancient sights, the Foro Boario is one of Rome’s most interesting “secret” attractions.
The Forum Boarium is across from the famous Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità) at the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, but it’s often skipped by visitors as the temples are behind fences, so can only be seen from the outside. Consider joining a private guided tour of the “secret” sights of Ancient Rome to explore the temples up close, along with skip-the-line access to the more famous archaeological sites dating from the Roman Empire, including the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
This commercially strategic market along the Tiber river was a major center of livestock trade as far back as the third century BC, and occupied a central location between Ancient Rome's Aventine and Palatine hills, along with the nearby Forum Holitorium produce market. Today, visitors can see the Temple of Portunus (Temple of Fortuna Virilis) from the first century BC and the Temple of Hercules Victor, ringed by a 20 columns. The Forum Boarium is also home to the Arch of Janus, dating from the fourth century.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Foro Boario is an outdoor archaeological site, so wear a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes when visiting.
The cattle market is an especially fascinating tour for Roman history enthusiasts, and those who want to explore some of Rome's more off-the-beaten-path sights.
The site is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
The Forum Boarium is located along the Tiber river near the Circus Maximus. Take bus 170 to the Bocca della Verità stop or metro line B to Circo Massimo.
When to Get There
The archaeological site is outdoors, so visit in early morning or late afternoon in the summer months and on mild days with clear skies in winter.
Temple of Vesta
The circular Temple of Hercules Victor is often mistaken for the Temple of Vesta, another round temple ringed by columns located in the Roman Forum but only partially preserved.