Fodor's Expert Review Basilica di Massenzio
Only about one-third of the original of this gigantic basilica (in the sense of a Roman courthouse and meeting hall) remains, so you can imagine what a wonder this building was when first erected. Today, its great arched vaults still dominate the north side of the Via Sacra. Begun under the emperor Maxentius about AD 306, the edifice was a center of judicial and commercial activity, the last of its kind to be built in Rome. Over the centuries, like so many Roman monuments, it was exploited as a quarry for building materials and was stripped of its sumptuous marble and stucco decorations. Its coffered vaults, like that of the Pantheon's dome, were later copied by many Renaissance artists and architects.