From the Forum Boarium to the Palatine
The area of the Forum Boarium is of great interest due to its association with the city's earliest beginnings, and even more important is the stretch of the Tiber now marked by the ruins of the 16th century Ponte Rotto.
There is archaeological evidence of the formation of small settlements of hut-dwellers on the Palatine and on the other hills in the Tiber plain around 1000 BC. These united during the 8th century BC, giving rise to the city of Rome. The growth of these primitive settlements, inhabited by Latins, Sabines and Etruscans, was encouraged by the possibility of expanding trade along the river.
Salt, a most precious commodity because of its use in rearing livestock and preserving meat, was panned at the mouth of the Tiber near Ostia and thence transported inland, along a route which was to become Via Salaria. However there was one principal factor which made vicinity to the river fundamental to the destinies of the groups living on the site of the Palatine and the other hills at the time and this was the ford located immediately downstream of the Tiber Island.
Later replaced by the famous Pons Sublicius, this ford joined the two main routes crossed by livestock farmers - the route which led to the Etruscan North and that leading to the Greek South, later to become known as Via Aurelia and Via Appia, respectively.
By controlling this stretch of the river close to the Tiber Island, the first Romans were able to benefit from the intense trade between the two areas and rapidly attained a position of prestige. It is no coincidence that the river bank overlooking this point was referred to as the Forum Boarium, or cattle market, right up to Imperial times.
Must See: Santa Maria in Cosmedin, la Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth), l' Ara Massima di Ercole (Great Altar of Unconquered Hercules), il Tempio di Ercole Vincitore (The Temple of Hercules Victor), il Tempio di Portuno (Temple of Portunus), San Giorgio in Velabro, Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill, The House of Augustus.