The site started off as soggy marshland between the Capitoline and Palatine hills, but was drained and then paved with travertine marble during the reign of Augustus. The Fori are a complex patchwork of ruins of significant buildings that include temples, basilicas and triumphal arches, as well as the Curia, which was home to the Senate. The Temple of Saturn is one of the oldest, dating from 500 BC, and also acted as the treasury storing the Empire’s gold and silver. Another vast structure is the former Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, a court house, council chamber and meeting-place. When Christianity was legalized in AD 313 the first Christian meeting-places were often former basilicas, which is why the term ‘basilica’ is often associated with churches. The street running to the Colosseum is known as the Via Sacra and was often used for processions. Unfortunately Mussolini carved through centuries’ worth of architectural debris in the 1930s to build the Via dei Fori Imperiali thoroughfare, which slices the site of the Forum in two. This was originally known as ‘Empire Street’ to fulfil the dictator’s own imperialistic pretensions.