Site Where Julius Caesar Was Killed Is Opened For Tourism

That might surprise some, said the archaeologist Monica Ceci, who oversees the site.

Visitors “may have a hard time imagining this, because the Shakespearean drama induces you to think that the murder was in the forum,” she said.

Caesar was actually assassinated at the Curia of Pompey, a large rectangular meeting hall where the Senate of Rome met occasionally. The emperor Augustus later declared the hall a “locus sceleratus,” or “cursed place,” and it was walled up.

But Shakespeare “could get away with” a little artistic license, Ms. Ceci laughed.

On the opposite side of the site, marble decorations and sculptures, for decades stored unseen in Rome’s archaeological warehouses, have been displayed in a long hall under the modern-day street. “It’s one thing to keep them in order on shelves, quite another to tell the history of this site through these fragments,” Ms. Ceci said.

Irina Lumsden, a data engineer visiting Rome from Melbourne, Australia, said that the site was transporting. “It’s amazing, you get such a feeling of ancient time here,” she said “They’ve done a great job of conserving the site.”

The area was rediscovered during excavations from 1926 to 1929, when the square was being demolished to make way for new buildings. The four temples unearthed were initially labeled with the first four letters of the alphabet because archaeologists were unsure which temples they had uncovered. Now they have been tentatively identified, though there is still scholarly debate: the Temple of Juturna, after a goddess of fountains, wells and springs, dating from the mid-third century B.C.; the Temple of Fortuna Huiusce Diei, or Fortune of the Present Day, built in the second century B.C.; the Temple of Feronia, a goddess of fertility, built about the end of the fourth century B.C.; and the Temple of Lares Permarini, dedicated to the protectors of navigation, or according to others to the Nymphs, and constructed in the early second century B.C.

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