This morning the entire abroad group travelled on a guided tour to the Roman Forum. The Forum is located between the Palatine and Constantine hills, which we also explored. The ruins in the hills come from the former homes and palaces of many of Rome's past Emperors which sit above the Forum, which functioned as the commercial and government center of the Empire.
The ruins are mostly cleared but some areas, which I prefer, are covered by vegetation. We viewed digital recreations of the Forum but I am more interested in comparing the paintings of the ruins from the 18th and 19th Centuries to today. They are surprisingly similar. It's nice to know that one day I can come back and they will probably be just the same, although the Italians are taking more and more precautions to protect their landmarks, such as closing the area around the Colosseum and limiting the visitors to the Pantheon.