March 4, 2008 -- ROME (AP) — Rome's archaeological officials said they are ending a decade-long policy of free visits to the Roman Forum and will start charging entry to the city's ancient power center on March 10.
Access to the Forum will be included in a single $16 ticket that visitors already pay to enter the nearby Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. Officials say the proceeds will go to increased security and restoration works at the Forum and other sites in Rome.
Nestled in a valley between the Colosseum and the imperial residences on the Palatine, the Forum has the remains of several key buildings from Roman times, including the Senate, the basilica built by the Emperor Maxentius, as well as temples and other monuments.
The new ticket policy comes as resources are stretched thin for Rome's archaeological office, which is working to open long-closed sites and new exhibitions even as its budget is weighed down by fresh discoveries, new digs and conservation projects.
Also on March 10, Emperor Augustus' frescoed palace atop the Palatine will reopen to the public after decades of restoration works. Visitors will walk through decorative marvels in Augustus' studio and in the hall where he received guests, and rooms in the nearby palace built for his wife Livia.
For bookings, visit www.pierreci.it.