I saw an article on Lonely Planet while riding the bus home from work today that listed the top five ancient wonders in Rome. The Forum was not on this list despite the fact that next to the Colosseum it is probably the most visited place in all of Rome. The issue with the Roman Forum though is that it is so hard to visualize what it all looked like 2800 years ago when some of the buildings were first built since all that is left is a column here or a facade there.
On our second trip to Rome that we took in April 2013 we hired a tour guide to walk us through the Forum which greatly increased our enjoyment of the exhibit. Our guide had a simple picture book that overlayed an artist rendition of what the building ‘looked’ like overtop of a modern picture. Our guide would go to the location that the picture was taken, explain the structure and then show it to us visually in the book. This made the trip much more visually appealing and while I still think the visit to the Forum is one of the more underwhelming things to see in Rome I’d definitely recommend hiring a guide as the few extra Euros will greatly increase your enjoyment of the visit.