While the original forum was founded at the same time as the city in the 2nd century BC, its current look dates from the first half of the 2nd century AD, when rows of columns lined the square on at least three sides. The forum, 141m long and 55m wide, is entirely paved with Aurisina stone slabs, most of which are from the Julio-Claudian dynasty (first half of the 1st century AD), while others were replaced over time with recycled materials, sometimes bearing inscriptions.
Now imagine you were an ancient Roman walking in the forum: at the back, to the south and along the whole width of the square, you'd see the civil basilica, a building with a nave, aisles and an apse, the seat of the judicial authority; to the west, you'd find the temple dedicated to the Capitoline Triad, of which nothing remains today; to shop you'd go to the east and west sides of the square.
The column stumps you see today belonged to the eastern wing of the portico and were raised and reconstructed with bricks in the 1930s. Their composite capitals, shafts and pedestals made of Aurisina stone are dated to the late Antonine times (about 170-180 AD).
The most important vestiges of the forum include an inscription mentioning Titus Annius (Luscus), a triumvir appointed as leader of the second group of colons who reached Aquileia in 169 BC. This is an extraordinary record of the city's history in the 2nd century BC, as it includes a list of the tasks entrusted to the magistrate: writing the laws for the administration of the colony, updating the local Senate and erecting a temple.
Finally, you'd admire the Cycle of Jupiter Ammon and Medusa originally decorating the balustrade of the portico and bearing a clear message of propaganda. The two themes, in fact, once evoked the width of the Roman dominions: from the west (Medusa) to the east (Jupiter Ammon, a deity cherished by Alexander the Great), almost all the known world was governed by the Roman Empire. The slabs between these two themes featured reliefs with putti and eagles carrying wreaths.
November - March: 9:00 to 16:00
April - May: 8:00 to 19:00
June to August: 8:00 to 20:00
September: *8:00 to 19:00
*October: 8:30 to 18:00