The Imperial Fora are an archaeological complex located on Via dei Fori Imperiali, the road that leads from the Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum.
This road bisects the most important archaeological legacy of Rome and the world: the Imperial Forum, in fact, is the Roman Forum, the place of foundation of Ancient Rome. Inaugurated for the tenth anniversary of the March on Rome and finished for Urbe Christmas of 1933, from Via dei Fori Imperiali you can admire from the top the complex of the Imperial Forums, where are visitable only the Trajan Market, and a Museum. Our route starts from Piazza Venezia and proceeds towards the Colosseum.
The Forum of Trajan
The first Forum we find is the Trajan. Opened in 112 A.D., here are the remains of the Basilica Ulpia, the largest in ancient Rome of which remains is part of the beautiful pavement in colored marble, and the famous Trajan's Column, built between 107 A.D and 113 A.D to mark the height of the hill before being destroyed by the building works. Commemorates Trajan during the difficult Dacian wars, with whose spoils were subsidized the works of the Forum. The stem is 30 meters high and it's all carved with a magnificent spiral bas-relief depicting more 2,500 figures. In the representation of the horrors of war, in portraits of the defeated Daci, in the fleeing women with children, the unknown artist of this bas-relief manages to infuse an unprecedented pathos in the eyes of the beholder. Inside the column there is a spiral staircase leading from the basement, where Trajan was buried, at the summit, where his statue was replaced by that of St. Peter. The Forum of Trajan was used as a majestic space for public ceremonies: here Hadrian in 118 A.D. burned in public the tables with debts of citizens to the tax authorities. In later period, the exedras behind the side porches welcomed poetry readings and lectures. All the sculptural decoration of the various buildings of the Forum transmitted the persuasive message of Trajan: the glory of a victorious army and peace achieved after the success.
The Trajan's Market
Behind the Forum of Trajan there is the Market, recognizable from the circular shape. This impressive complex, began in 107 A.D but completed under Hadrian, designed by Apollodorus of Damascus and considered by the ancients as the eighth wonder of the world. The visit starts from the markets, where the trade took place in the great hall; the architectural and statuary residues positioned in the six tabernae opening on it the first nucleus of the Museum of the Imperial Forums. A staircase leads to via Biberatica, probably named for the tabernae of drinks positioned along the course, and the hemicycle of the markets, where you can have a particular view of the whole complex.
The Forum of Augustus
This Forum, which takes as its model the plant of the similar structure of Caesar, was brought to light in 1924-32 but not completely: only the part close to the Trajan's market, while the part hidden from via Alexandrina and the flowerbeds is on excavation from 1999. The Forum was inaugurated in 2 B.C, and at its center there was the Temple of Mars Ultor, home to several meetings of the Senate related to wars and triumphs, in relation to the war character of the God; inside the cell are kept the military insignia recovered in war or returned by now peaceful population. By going on the podium of this temple, taking advantage of the special midday light, you can seize, on a marble slab on the north side of the podium, a curious graffiti depicting an erotic scene. The northern portico of this Forum ends in the Hall of the Colossus, a space very rich of very valuable works of art. Here it was rebuilt only in part a colossal hand a part of the statue in honor of Augustus probably about 12 meters high. The apse housed the statues of Mars, Venus and perhaps the Divine Julius. The monumental colonnades welcomed the statues of summi viri of the Republic, and in the exedras were those of Aeneas, Romulus and the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
The Forum of Nerva
The Forum of Nerva follows the Trajan markets. There was not much room to raise a large Forum and therefore Nerva had to settle with the narrow passage between the Subura and the Roman Forum. In this Forum of 97 A.D wanted by Domitian and later dedicated to Nerva, was the Temple of Minerva, from here in fact the name of "forum Minervae" or "Palladium", of which remain, in addition to so-called Colonnacce which had the role of porch , also part of the podium and the attic with bas-relief decorations. The Temple of Minerva survived in good condition until 1606 A.D when was knocked down by Pope V for re-use of its material in the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola on the Janiculum. Thanks to the excavations begun in 1995, are coming to light other structures on the side of Via dei Fori Imperiali contiguous to the Roman Forum.
The Forum of Caesar
The Forum of Caesar is on the other side of Via dei Fori Imperiali, because it was the first of the Imperial Forums to be raised, from 54 A.D., just as an extension of the nearby ancient Roman Forum and now no longer adequate for the conduct of its monumental and administrative center functions. The Forum of Caesar was in fact a meeting place for public business negotiations. The interior of the temple had somehow also the function of museum since there were collected various works of famous artists: the same cult statue was a Venus Arkesilaos sculpted by famous artist of the time of Caesar. This Forum was made up of a square rectangular shaped with a colonnade open to the southeast leading into a large semicircular latrine Trajan era, considered the largest of the ancient world. This latrine had a crawl space underneath the floor with suspensurae, or pillars of bricks, for the drainage system. The walls were totally covered with marble, a elegant interior, despite its humble function. On the bottom of the square there was the Temple of Venus Genetrix, with eight columns in front and nine on the long sides, none on the bottom side.
The Temple of Peace
The complex of the Imperial Forums were closed ideally to the southeast from the Forum of Peace, built according to the will of Vespasian in 71 a. C. and initially designated to contain the booty from the Jewish-Roman wars as well as several masterpieces of Greek art. On the bottom of the Forum it opened a temple that spread up the hill of Velia, destroyed in the thirties. The temple consisted of a large hall with an apse, where was kept the cult statue, that opened with an exedra on the bottom of the porch. A row of columns, separated the porch from the temple, you can find a large fragment of African marble of one of them in the flowerbed ahead of the current entrance of the Roman Forum. Within the Forum there was also a library whose layout is reminiscent of Hadrian‘s in Athens. This Forum was probably used for cultural representation function.
Opening hours: Mon - Sun (08.30 AM - 04.30 PM (07.00 PM in summer))
Admission: €12 adult, €7,5 children on-line reservation
How to reach: bus stop Fori Imperiali (85, 87, 118)
Address: Via Dei Fori Imperiali
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