Discovering Ancient Rome
A unique architectural complex composed of a series of monumental buildings and squares, the Imperial Forums are among the most fascinating archaeological sites in the Italian capital. The centre of political activity in ancient Rome, they were built between 46 BC and 113 AD by Julius Caesar and Roman emperors Augustus, Vespasian, Nerva and Trajan.
The oldest square is the Forum of Caesar, which was inaugurated, although incomplete, in 46 BC and finished by Augustus. After avenging Caesar’s death in the Battle of Philippi, four years later, Augustus ordered the construction of the temple dedicated to Mars Ultor. Under Emperor Vespasian, another large square known as the Temple of Peace was then built.
In 97 AD the Forum of Nerva was built, on the main sides of which a simple colonnade was constructed, of which only two columns, nicknamed the “Colonnacce” (“ugly columns”), remain today. In 112 AD, the grandest of the Imperial Forums, Trajan’s Forum, was inaugurated to celebrate the emperor’s victory over the Dacians. In the centre of the square, the magnificently decorated Trajan’s Column was constructed.
Today, the upper part of the complex houses the Museum of the Imperial Fora, which explores the architecture and sculptural decoration of the Forums. The visitors entrance to the area is in Piazza Santa Maria di Loreto.