Although the Forum was "rediscovered" in the Renaissance, scientific interest in the area only began in the late 18th century. This led in the 19th century to systematic explorations by illustrious archaeologists, including Carlo Fea, Antonio Nibby, Pietro Rosa and Guiseppe Fiorelli. Earthworks brought back to light the ancient ground level of the Forum, a few metres beneath that of the surrounding city.
The most extensive excavations were undertaken in the early years of the 20th century, directed by Giacomo Boni who explored the square, the Temple of Caesar, the Lapis Niger, the Regia, the archaic necroplis, the Temple of Vesta with the house of the Vestal Virgins, the Spring of Juturna and the church of Santa Maria Antiqua. His successor Alfonso Bartoli excavated the Basilica Aemilia and radically restored the Curia. In subsequent decades explorations - though limited - continued in various areas including the Comitium, the Basilica lulia, the Arch of Augustus, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the area around the modern via della Consolazione, which was destroyed. Today the Roman Forum, though apparently a stretch of ruins, remains one of the most important places in the world for history and art. The ruins, the vegetation, the environment, forming a whole set off by the Roman light, still retain a fascination which the passage of time cannot alter. Seeing the Forum from above, especially at sunset on a clear day, is one of the world's most intense and striking spectacles.