In Rome, the ancient city and the modern one live side by side. And at many Roman historical sites, technology is bringing the past alive in new and exciting ways. One way in which Rome attractions are stepping up their 21st century game is by recreating history and reconstructing ruins through light shows with laser technology. Two attractions projecting images of the past are the Forum of Caesar and the Forum of Augustus shows where the tales of two Roman rulers and the economic, political, and social centers they created are told.

After walking past the Forum of Augustus show last year when taking an evening stroll, I was fascinated by the projections on the ruins in the forum below and determined to see one this year. Upon researching my options, I felt that the Forum of Caesar light show would be a good fit for our first time as it allowed us to walk through the ruins and under the main street, via dei Fori Imperiali. Usually, I just look at Trajan’s Forum from the sidewalk so having intimate access held great appeal to me. Because I wanted to make sure the weather would be good, I waited until the day of the show to buy tickets. We purchased them at one of the numerous Tourist Information Points located around Rome. Some of the time slots were sold out, but we still got a good one. Besides going to Tourist Information Points, you can also book online, call the Contact Center (+39 060608), or visit the box office located near the entrance to the show. The Forum of Caesar light show meets near Trajan’s Column and the box office opens 30 minutes before the first show.

The Forum of Caesar program takes you on a journey through the history of the forum including the construction of via dei Fori Imperiali and archaeological work performed there, as well as the story of Julius Caesar. At our entry time, we were given headphones (tours are available in eight languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, German, and Russian) and our guide explained that she would lead us through the ruins and that the narrative would automatically play when we were standing in front of an element of the show. There were several stops along the way, which made the time fly by (about an hour). Some areas we stood to hear the story and see the laser recreations while at other points were able to sit down. Vivid images were projected on columns, walls, and other ancient structures. The realistic recreations were laser sharp. The special effects made it look as if people were moving around, fires were burning, and ancient Rome had been rebuilt. It is a powerful story and the visuals made history come alive.

Walking through the illuminated ruins at night was a fabulous way to spend an evening in Rome. In the darkness, the modernity of the city faded away and we were able to fully immerse ourselves in a nighttime travel through history. I’m excited to try the Forum of Augustus light show in the future! These shows are great things to do in Rome. Buon viaggio!

Cost: 15€ for one show/25€ for both

When: Shows every 20 minutes starting at dusk and going as late as 11:40 in the summer. Go to the official website for exact details and to buy tickets: http://www.viaggioneifori.it/en/

YouTube video of the show: https://youtu.be/W-dCj96YdYc

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