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Via dei Fori Imperiali is the most famous street in Rome. Surrounded by ancient ruins, it is probably the most used street by tourists.

If we had already seen it during the day when we visited the Colosseum or the Trajan’s Markets, we wanted to see it at night to admire the night lights. A great idea that you should imitate!

Via dei Fori Imperiali: what is it?

Contrary to what I thought when I first discovered it, Via dei Fori Imperiali is not a very old street. It was inaugurated in 1932. Benito Mussolini wanted a street running from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia.

Originally called vial dell’Impera (which can be translated as “street of the Empire”), it took its current name after the Second World War.

Its strong point is that it is at the center of all the ancient Roman remains. Starting from the Colosseum, you walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali with buildings such as the Roman Forum, the Forum of Augustus, the Forum of Caesar, Trajan’s Markets on your right and left, and you arrive at the Monument to Vitorio Emmanuele II.

monument to vitorio emmanuele by night
The Monument to Vitorio Emmanuele II is as impressive during the day as at night.

If you are visiting Rome for only two or three days, it is possible that you will spend most of your stay near Via dei Fori Imperiali.

Where is Via dei Fori Imperiali?

Via dei Fori Imperiali is in the center of Rome. It is located at one mile on foot from the Roma-Termini train station.

Like us, you can take a hotel located between these two strategic places for any tourist in Rome, and walk during your stay instead of taking cabs or the metro.

The other most popular visit in Rome, after the remains of the Roman Empire, is the Vatican. It is less than two miles walk from the end of Piazza Venezia which marks the end of Via dei Fori Imperiali.

Why walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali at night is a unique experience?

During the day, the street sees a massive crowd. Everyone goes to the places to visit around it. The wide sidewalks still allow you to enjoy the views of the ruins.

But at night, the feeling is very different. It’s not quiet, as there are still tourists and young Italians walking or sitting around talking. However, there is less traffic, no more hawkers and no crowds. You have plenty of time to wander around, chat and observe the monuments.

trajan markets by night
Trajan’s Markets are highlighted by night.

Even better, the main monuments have lighting that enhances their architecture. The best example is Trajan’s Markets. The lighting changes your view of the building. It appears much bigger. Moreover, as the walkways are always open, you can get close to the walls and have several corners to admire and photograph it.

The Colosseum is, of course, another place to discover by day or night on Via dei Fori Imperiali. The openings of the exterior façade are illuminated. This allowed us to see statues that we had not seen during the day.

colosseum at night
By day, we had not seen all these sculptures on the wall of the Colosseum.

Is the street easily accessible to the public?

Entrance to the monuments is not possible at night. However, the Via dei Fori Imperiali is elevated above the ruins, which date back almost two millennia. You therefore have a very good view of the lower ruins.

Rome ruins by night
From the street you have an excellent view of the ruins just below.

Take your time, go both ways to see as much as possible. The relative quietness offered by the night is perfect to stroll around and think about where you are: you are right in the middle of the remains of the beginnings of western civilization.

Did we feel safe?

The question may seem useless to some and obligatory to others. Yes, we felt safe walking at midnight in Rome. The Roman capital is very different from Paris…

Despite our touristy looks, we walked along the Via dei Fori Imperiali without any fear and did the same through the almost deserted little streets to get back to the hotel.


As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!