Fodor's Expert Review Basilica Emilia
Once a great colonnaded hall, this served as a meeting place for merchants and as a court house from the 2nd century BC; it was rebuilt by Augustus in the 1st century AD. To the right as you enter the Forum from via dei Fori Imperiali, a spot on one of the basilica's preserved pieces of floor testifies to one of Rome's more harrowing moments—and to the hall's purpose. That's where bronze coins melted, leaving behind green stains, when Rome was sacked and the basilica was burned by the Visigoths in 410 AD. The term "basilica" refers here to the particular architectural form developed by the Romans: a rectangular hall flanked by colonnades, it could serve as a court of law or a center for business and commerce. The basilica would later become the building type adopted for the first official places of Christian worship in the city.