The Roman Forum is a top tourist destination and with good reason. It was the heart of ancient Rome. Here you will find the oldest buildings, including the former royal residency (regia) and the complex of the vestal virgins as well as the senate house, courthouses and various religious buildings.
The Forum was the city square where the Romans could gather for political, judicial and religious rituals. During the republic (509 B.C. to 27 B.C.), plebeians (poor people) and patricians (nobility) shared control of the city. As the army's power increased during during Roman conquests, Roman marshals were able to take power from the senate to form dictatorships.
A brief history:
In 750 B.C. only villages occupied by farmers were located on the Roman hills. In the tiny valley in the middle of the hills, a marsh was used as a graveyard and meeting point by the inhabitants of the villages. This marsh was the site of what would become one of the greatest forums of all time.
In 616 B.C. the Etruscans tried to drain the stagnating waters from the valley into the Tiber River and built the Cloaca Maxima, the first Roman sewer.
In 184 B.C. the satiric author Plaute described the Forum as a giant commercial quarter with prostitutes, traders and counterfeiters, with both rich and poor men.
Victories in foreign wars brought back many riches to the Roman Empire; with this wealth the Forum was transformed into the world's richest place, a sort of ancient Wall Street.
In 27 B.C. the senate elected Octavius as the Emperor Augustus with full power and he transformed the Forum using white marble.