Walking along the Via dei Fori Imperiali (street of the Imperial Forums) is one of the best ways to see a lot of ancient Rome in a short time. The best starting point is Piazza Venezia. From here you will walk past the ancient imperial forums and finish at the Colosseum. It’s not a long walk. If you walked without pausing, it would probably only take about 15 minutes but of course, you'll need to allow more time for stops and photos.
Standing in Piazza Venezia, the first thing you see is the gleaming white edifice of the Victor Emmanuel II Monument. It immediately confronts the passerby. We climbed the great staircase and walked through the building (entry is free). From the open air terraces, we had magnificent views in all directions across Rome.
Next we walked down the left hand side of Via dei Fori Imperiali, passing right by the Imperial Forums of Trajan, Augustus and Nerva. You have a close-up view of the ruins and can clearly see the main highlights like Trajan’s Column and the Temple of Mars. One of the best parts is that you don’t need a ticket because they can be easily seen from the public footpath.
Not a lot is left of the ancient forum buildings. For the most part, what you see are chunks of columns, missing statues, patches of flagstones and discarded blocks of marble and stone but there are some good information boards along the way which help you to understand what you’re looking at. Information is in both English and Italian and includes diagrams and pictures.
On the other side of the road is the most famous forum, belonging to Julius Caesar. You can see parts of this one from the roadside but not all. This is probably enough for most people. If you have time and want to see more, then you can buy an entry ticket which is included in a combined Forum/Colosseum ticket and remains valid for 2 days.
Finally, you arrive at the Colosseum. It’s amazing to see it looming in the distance as you get closer and closer. It's a pretty amazing way to approach it.
NOTE: Depending on how much time you have, Monti is an interesting area which lies just off the Via Dei Fori Imperiali. After the Colosseum, we headed here to to explore and find a spot for lunch.