Pompeii’s Forum

Roman Site in Pompeii

Pompeiis Forum

The Forum is likely to be the first major sight you’ll encounter in Pompeii, and it is also the most recognizable due to its popularity and photogenic appeal. Serving as the core of daily life in Pompeii, the Civil Forum was the focal point for city administration, justice, business management, trade activities such as markets, and citizen worship.

This expansive square originally appeared as a simple open area with a regular shape made of clay. The western side opened onto the Sanctuary of Apollo, while the eastern side featured a row of shops. The Forum underwent significant modifications between the 3rd and 2nd century BCE, when the shape of the square was regularized, surrounded by porticoes, and the ground paved with slabs of tuff. The square’s axis was aligned with the façade of the Temple of Jupiter, perfectly positioned with Mount Vesuvius in the background.

At the beginning of the Imperial age, the Forum was re-paved with travertine slabs, some of which have grooves to accommodate bronze letters from a large inscription. Although excavations initiated by Maria Carolina Bonaparte revealed that the area had been previously explored and stripped of its decorations in ancient times, the Forum remains a testament to the grandeur of Pompeii.

Today, visitors can see the Temple of Jupiter at one end and the City Hall at the other, with the granary and basilica adding to the significance of this central space. Even in its ruined state, the Forum provides a vivid sense of the city’s former grandeur and offers one of the best views of Mount Vesuvius. Visualize the volcano just before its eruption: from the two peaks visible today, you can trace lines upwards to form the classic cone shape. The inhabitants of Pompeii had no idea their mountain was an active volcano until the eruption that would forever immortalize their city began.

The Pompeii’s Forum appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Pompeii!

This website uses affiliate links which may earn a commission at no additional cost to you!

Visiting Pompeii’s Forum

Duration: 20 minutes

Nearby Attractions