Part V – For Spectacular Views of the Forum & Beyond- The Tabularium

Roman architecture had many guiding principles- one of the main ones being perspective and views. Not just how the building looked but also what you could look at from the building. I guess if you lived in the crowded Subura district in Rome where insulae went up to 7 or 9 stories you would be restricted in what you saw from the second or third floor, but more often than not the rich and the super rich could choose to build their houses in nicer locations with grand views.

View of the Tabularium from the Forum

The building I’m going to describe for this post was not a private building- it was an official building called the Tabularium which can roughly be translated into a records office. The tabularium in Rome lay at the base of the Capitoline hill overlooking the forum. However adding a typical Roman touch to what could have otherwise been a rather drab bureaucratic office, the second storey of the building was given a fantastic lookout over the forum- an arcaded walkway. This fragment of the building still survives from ancient Roman times though has been built over.

The walkway as it is today

The walkway of the tabularium now has to  be accessed from inside the Capitoline museum – and it is such a well kept secret that many people often miss visiting it as you have to go right down to the basement (Considering I had to search over 45 minutes to find a way to canteen with very weary feet- I can imagine people missing a lot of things in the museum but the tabularium is easier to access than the restaurant). But once you get there the views of the Forum and the Palatine are spectacular.

The View with the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the front, with the temple of Saturn to the right and the arch of Septimius Severus to the left

And if this is how the views are today, one can only imagine how much more glorious they would have been in the heydays of the Forum!

A Well Kept Secret
Columns, Columns and More Glorious Columns



One Comment Add yours

  1. Nirmala says:

    Your description makes everything real to me even though I have not seen them. very good!

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