About Curia Julia
The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum was the senate house in Ancient Rome, built under Julius Caesar and later restored by Diocletian after being damaged by fire. The Curia stood at the very heart of the ancient city, both physically and politically, and would have borne witness to some of Rome’s most famous events and figures.
Unusually for an Ancient Roman building, the Curia Julia stands intact due to its conversion into the church of Saint Adriano in 623 AD by Pope Honorius I.
History of Curia Julia
Curia Julia is one of many curia – which roughly translates to ‘meeting house’ – which existed during the course of the Ancient Roman civilisation and was the administrative centre of the empire.
It was built in around 44 BC, when Julius Caesar replaced Faustus Cornelius Sulla’s reconstructed Curia Cornelia, which itself had replaced the Curia Hostilia. However, the work was interrupted by Caesar’s assassination, but was eventually finished by Caesar’s successor Augustus Caesar in 29 BC.
From 81 to 96 AD, the structure was restored under emperor Domitian. In 283 AD, it was heavily damaged by fire under Emperor Carinus, and was subsequently rebuilt from 284 to 305 AD by Diocletian. These restorations are the ones which remain today.
The building was converted into a church in 630 AD, which thus preserved the original porphyry and serpentine floor, the low broad steps that accommodated the senators’ seats, and the three large windows.
In the mid-seventeenth century, the great bronze doors were removed to be used by the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. In 1938, to celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Rome’s first emperor Augustus, Mussolini completed the restoration of the Curia after removing the baroque church that surrounded it.
Curia Julia Today
Today, visitors can enjoy the wall frescoes, relief fragments, mosaics, and marbled floor pattern within the Curia Julia. Entry is included in the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum entry ticket. It is easy to find, as it is is the only complete building structure in the area, and is next to the famous Arch of Septimus Severus.
Getting to Curia Julia
Curia Julia is a 5 minute drive from the centre of Rome along Via Nazionale. There is also a regular bus service, with the 40, 64, 70, n70, and n98 departing every 7 minutes from the Nazionale/Torino, and taking around 13 minutes. By foot, visitors can reach the site in around 20 minutes along Via Nazionale, and enjoy the other sites that the Roman forum has to offer en route.