Trajan & Imperial Forums, Rome
If you like history or archeology, in the very center of the town you have to visit the imperial forums... yes, the name arrived in the internet with the meaning of "the places where people meet each other"... like ancient romans did in those square an buildings. Here you can visit the ancient "Senatus" (another name survided more than 2500 years, right?) building, the Curia (see the floor on pict #2).
And, winking to all of US VT friends, the picture #1 is from the Capitol Hill... Oh, yes, the ORIGINAL one! ;-)
Because of Rome's expansion, it seemed to be that just one forum wasn't enough. That is why the Imperial Forums were constructed. The first one was made done by Julius Caesar by the end of the Republic. Thus, the Julius Forum was constructed. After that, many more were constructed: the Augustus Forum, the Vespasian Forum, the Nerva Forum and the Trajean Forum.
One next to each other you can see and feel the huge expansion of Rome, and how it came to be one of the biggest empires of the World.
Next to the Victor Emmanuel Monument is Trajan's Column. Being a fan of Rome's various columns and arches, I enjoyed Trajan's Column greatly, if even simply viewing it from afar. The column rises 140 feet tall and has a continuous relief around its facade depicting Trajan's (Roman General) victories and conquests. At the top of the column used to be a bronze statue of Trajan, which is now replaced by a statue of St. Peter.
You can pay admission to get into Trajan's Market (ruins of a commercial area in Roman times), but we did not do this. It did not seem worth the admission fee to us.
I was simply content to gaze upon the Column for a short while. It is beautiful as seen from the rooftop of the Victor Emmanuel Monument.
If you visit the Roman Forum or the general Imperial Fora you will walk on via dei Fori Imperiali that was built in 1932 by Mussolini. It’s a 6 lane highway that connects Colosseum and Capitol with long side pavements that are usually full of tourists that want to visit the area. It looks much better when they stop traffic and it’s car free like on Sundays (pic 1). We stopped many times to check the numerous statues along the way (pic 2)
The Imperial forums were very important spots for the ancient Rome as they were the public square (fora in Italian) where politics/economy was running. Of course at the first this was taking place inside the Forum but when the lawers become too many the emperors started to built new forum, some of them added some arches and Vespasian added a stadium (ehm, sorry I meant the Colosseum) for sport events like lion hunting :) We didn’t spend much time on them because most of them are in the guide books but there’s no much to see when there.
Forum of Caesar was inaugurated in 56BC, you can see a small part of it as big part of it is under via dei Fori Imperiali. Temple of Venus is still visible though(ok, 3 columns of it) from via dei Fori Imperiali.
Forum of Augustus was inaugurated in 2BC, the most important building was the temple of Mars Ultor. Many centuries later (at 1200) the Knights of Rhodes used the ruins of temple to build their palaces! That’s why we can only see 4 columns left from the temple.
Forum of Vespasian was inaugurated in 75AD. Nothing left to see today, the most important structure was the temple of Peace, that’s why may refer to the forum as the Forum of Peace.
Forum of Nerva was started to built by Domitian but completed by Nerva. Again, we cant really see much of it as via dei Fori Imperiali cuts over it.
Finally Forum of Trajan (pic 3). It was built in 113AD, and it is obviously the largest and best preserved among the others. You can visit the site and see (including a museum) some of the structures and buildings like the Trajans Column (38metres high, made by greek marble) and imagine the area that was full of shops and offices. It is open daily 9.00-19.00 (closed on Mondays), the entrance fee is €11 (entrance from Via IV Novembre 94)
this forum was built by emperor augustus to celebrate his victory over the assassins of julius caesar, brutus and cassius in 41BC. the columns in the picture are the ruins of temple of mars. much of the forum now lies under the via dei fori imperiali.
Built in 97 AD, the Forum of Nerva contained the Temple of Minerva and was adjacent to the Forum of Augustus. Much of the Forum of Nerva is now buried under Via dei Fori Imperiali. However, a small section of the Temple of Minerva, showing Corinthian columns and a beautiful frieze with sculptures of Roman women, is visible (see photo).
My type of window shopping hahaha
This was reckoned to be the original shopping mall! Trajan's forum here was a complex of about 150 shops where goods exported from other regions of Roman empire were brought and sold. The market was erected in the end of the 1st century A.D. - 117 A.D. The six storeyed construction is subdivided in two by a street Via Biberatica. Its best viewed from the Vittotiano, where I took this pic.
The Imperial Forums are composed with: Caesar's Forum, August's Forum, Peace's Forum, Nerva's Forum and Trajan's Forum. Following the example of Julius Caesar who built the first forum of the set in 46 b. C., all the most important Roman emperors wanted to leave their sign building a forum called after their name.
The archaeological area is one of the richest in the world, and for all the lovers of ancient art and history the visit to the Imperial Forums represents one of the most suggestive stages Rome can offer. The most important among the various forums that compose the set is Trajan's Forum. Within the Trajan's Forum, the Trajan's Column is placed, that represents through its figures the Roman Empire's victories. After the Empire's decadence all this area was covered by debrises century after century and at the beginning of the '900 the result was that the roman forums was completely replaced by normal houses built in different moment and styles. With the arrival of fascist regime, Mussolini ordered to pull down all the buildings, making resident people move to alternate areas, and the Roman Forums were dig up for a new shining dress.
Trajan's Forum was built in the 2nd century AD and is located next to Trajan's Column and Markets. The largest basilica in ancient Rome, Basilica Ulpia, was located in this Forum. Only a small section of Trajan's Forum has been exposed and excavated. The rest, unfortunately, is buried under Rome's streets.
This has to be the most unappreciated and overlooked monument in (Ancient) Rome. Just to the East of the Plazza Venezia, it lies in the shadow of the impossibly large Victor Emmanuel Monument (1911) and is near the imposing Coliseum. Unlike so much of Ancient Rome, this column is virtually intact from its creation in 113 AD. It is both Victory Monument and Tomb. The 40 meter monument has 2500 figures in 155 scenes on 18 marble blocks and tells the story of Trajan’s victory over the Dacians in 2 wars fought in what is now Romania. The original statue of Trajan atop the monument was replaced by one of Saint Peter in 1587. It is hollow and has 183 stairs to the top. Because of its advanced age, the stairs are not open to the public.
Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) expanded the Roman Empire defeating Dacia (Modern Romania), Arabia, Mesopotamia and taking Babylon. He also directed the building the Markets of Trajan on the slopes of the Quirinal Hill. Unfortunately he had no place to be buried as the resting place of Emperors, the Mausoleum of Augustus, was full. So the Column of Trajan was built and Trajan and his wife were buried in the base.
Please click on the photo to get the full Postcard view!
Against the background of the Forum of Trajan rise the remains of the Basilica Ulpia, which contained state archives and two libraries designed by Apollodorus. One was utilized to store records in Latin, while the other was for those in Greek. The books, both rolls or bound codices, were kept in wooden presses set in the recesses still visible in the walls. The books were carefully catalogued and cared for by librarians, whse taks it was to pritect them from damp.
Built in the early 2nd century and comprising six floors of shops and offices, Trajan's Markets were the precursor to the modern shopping mall. Wine, oil, vegetables, flowers, imported silks and spices were sold here. Many of the shops were state owned, and were thus the last link in a chain of distribution that also included Trajan's important new port at Fiumicino.
Fori Imperiali (the Imperial Squares) consist of a series of monumental squares constructed over the centuries, between 46 B.C. and 113 A.D. In Roman times Forum wasn't just a big open space in the city centre, Forum was lifestyle aswell as it is in todays Italy and in the whole of Mediterraneans. Thanks to the mild climate conditions Mediterraneas are used to spend most of the day out of their homes, no matter if summer or winter.
There is wide city street connecting the Colosseo and Piazza Venezia and is called Via dei Fori Imperiali. It is vivid place full of life, charming and "unkooked" at the same time. Romans loved it, new Romans love it too aswell as the visitors and tourists. No need to be said here; "Be Roman when in Rome".
The column erected by Trajan between the two libraries in his forum is made up up 19 cylindrical blocks of marble. Set on a pedestal and topped by a great capital. The shaft of the column once supported a statue of Trajan, that somehow disappeared in the Middel Ages. It was later replaced by one of St. Peter in the sixteenth century. The column was designed and built as Trajan's funery monument. On the Emperor's death his ashes were placed on a marble ledge inside a chamber that occupied the whole north side of the base.
Rome's second Imperial Forum, the Forum of Augustus, was inaugurated in the year 2 BC, a few decades after the completion of the Forum of Julius Caesar. The Forum of Augustus celebrates Emperor Augustus' victory over the assassins of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, and contains the Temple of Mars the Avenger (il Tempio di Marte Ultore). Although much of this Forum is still buried under Via dei Fori Imperiali and Via Alessandrina, a good portion of the Temple is visible, albeit in ruins. The steps leading up to the temple are still intact, as well as a few standing columns (see pictures). The attached drawing shows the temple during its glory days.