Rome is a city of history, culture and food, popular for weekend breaks and pre or post-cruise breaks. One thing that blew me away during my visit to the Eternal City was the Roman Forum Light Show (Viaggio nei Fori). This is a lesser-known ticketed event that I cannot recommend enough if you’re planning to visit Rome.
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What is the Roman Forum Light Show?
When you visit the Roman Forum, it is difficult to envisage what life was like when it was the bustling centre of Ancient Rome over 2,000 years ago. Excavation of the site began in 1803 and took over a century to be uncovered; with archaeologists still discovering artifacts to this day.
The Light Show is an immersive experience that helps to transports you back to a time when the Forum was active. It cleverly combines light, graphics and videos that are projected on to the ruins. This helps you to see what it would have looked like in ancient times.
There are two Roman Forum light show options to choose from but I would recommend doing both if you have the time. Both light displays take place during the evening so that the full impact of the displays can be appreciated. The timings of this display, means that you can easily walk between the two sites to enjoy both in one evening.
Forum of Augustus Light Show
The Forum of Augustus show tells the story of Augustus, the first Roman emperor, who reigned from 27 BC to 14 AD. Just trying to comprehend how long ago this was is hard enough, but to actually see the ruins from those times was pretty mind-blowing.
The Foro di Augusto is a stationary show that brings to life the ruins in front of you. The audience sit on raised seating and cleverly designed video and images are projected on to the ruins.
Everyone who attends is given earphones and an audio device that explains the history behind the site. The audio and visuals work in perfect synchronicity; this really helps you to understand the story of the first emperor of Rome.
I would recommend taking something warm to wear for this light show because you are sat for approximately 45 minutes. If it’s still relatively warm, you will have something softer to sit on than the hard benches!
There are three shows per evening at 9pm, 10pm or 11pm.
The Forum of Caesar Light Show
The Forum of Caesar show tells the story of Julius Caesar, a Roman general and statesman who never actually became an emperor. This light show helps to bring the Roman Forum to life, and depicts what life was like for those who lived and worked there. It also covers the role that Caesar had within Ancient Rome.
In contrast to the Foro di Augusto display, the Forum of Caesar light show is an active show that takes you on a journey, starting in Caesar’s Forum and finishing in the main Roman Forum area. The audience is led through an short underground tunnel of the Imperial Foro and there are cleverly designed video and images projected on to the ruins to help you reimagine what was originally there. Buildings and statues are rebuilt before your eyes!
Earphones and audio devices are still used but each group has a guide to help direct you to significant points throughout the event. This is a carefully coordinated programme to ensure that everything works in unison.
How to book
Be aware that the light show only takes place between April and November. There are three main ways you can book tickets for the Roman Forum Light Shows:
- From a local tourist information office in Rome
- At the entrance up to one hour before
Viaggio nei Fori online tickets can be booked in advance of your trip. A standard adult ticket costs just €16 directly from the website. This takes the stress out of organising your tickets whilst you are in Rome. You can secure your place and simply turn up at the entrance with your ticket confirmation.
Tickets from the Tourist Information Office
Tickets for Viaggio nei Fori light shows are available to purchase at certain Tourist Information Offices in Rome:
- Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Pia
- Minghetti, Via Marco Minghetti
- Fori Imperiali, Via dei Fori Imperiali
If you have a Roma Pass, this may be a good option as you are entitled to reduced ticket prices. With a Roma Pass you will save €5 per person.
We chose this option because we had the Roma Pass and were in easy walking distance of one of the Tourist Information Offices.
You can find out where we stayed in Rome in the first part of this blog post: Cruise Ship Review: Sapphire Princess Public Areas & Dining.
On the door
If you don’t book your tickets in advance, you can turn up on the evening and pay for tickets if there is still availability. It is €15 per person, so you only save €1 on the door. There were people who did this on the evening that we were there but if you definitely know you want to attend a Roman Forum Light Show, I’d recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.
During my research for our trip to Rome I happened to come across this unique opportunity. It was something relatively unheard of and so we thought we’d give it a go. Two years on, we still talk about how incredibly interesting this evening was!
I would recommend doing both Roman Forum Light Shows but if you only have time for one, the Forum of Caesar show is the better of the two (in my opinion). I enjoyed that this show felt like a journey through the Roman Forum and it gave a insightful look into every day life.
Take warm clothes and comfortable shoes for the uneven ground. Grab an early dinner and then enjoy the show!