Monuments - Rome
The Imperial Fora
are a series of monumental fora (public squares), constructed in Rome over a period of one and a half centuries, between 46 BC and 113 AD. The forums were the center of the Roman Republic and of the Roman Empire.
Forum of Caesar
Julius Caesar decided to construct a large forum bearing his name. This forum was inaugurated in 46 BC, although it was probably incomplete at this time and was finished later by Augustus. The Forum of Caesar was constructed as an extension to the Roman Forum. The Forum was used as a replacement venue to the Roman Forum for public affairs as well as government; it was also designed as a celebration of Caesar's power. Caesar had placed, on the front of his forum, a temple devoted to Venus Genetrix, since Caesar's family (gens Julia) claimed to descend by Venus through Aeneas. .
Forum of Augustus
In the battle of Philippi in 42 BC, in which Augustus and Mark Antony worked together and avenged Caesar's death, defeating the forces of Brutus and Cassius, Augustus vowed to build the Temple of Mars Ultor ("Mars the Avenger"). The incomplete forum was inaugurated, after 40 years of construction, in 2 BC, adding the second monumental square, the Forum of Augustus. This new complex lies at right angles to the Forum of Caesar. The temple consists of a very tall wall that served as a firebreak, protecting the Forum area from the frequent conflagrations from which Rome suffered. The rectangular square has long deep porticos with a surface that widens into large semicircular exedras.
Temple of Peace
In 75 AD, the Temple of Peace, also known as the Forum of Vespasian, was built under Emperor Vespasian. The monument was built to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem. One of the chambers opened at the end of the porticos housed the Forma Urbis Romae, a marble map of ancient Rome, made in the Severan period (3rd century) by drawing on the marble slab that covered the wall. The wall is now part of the façade of the church of Santi Cosma e Damiano, where the holes used to mount the slabs of the map can still be seen. The Temple of Peace is also said to have housed the Menorah from Herod's Temple.
Forum of Nerva, or the Transitional Forum
Domitian decided to unify the previous complex and the free remaining irregular area, between the Temple of Peace and the Fora of Caesar and Augustus, and build another monumental forum which connected all of the other fora. The limited space, partially occupied by one of the exedrae of the Forum of Augustus and by the via dell'Argileto, obliged Domitian to build the lateral porticos as simply decorations of the bounding walls of the forum. The temple, dedicated to Minerva as protector of the emperor, was built leaning on the exedra of the Forum of Augustus, so that the remaining space became a large monumental entrance (Porticus Absidatus) for all the fora. Because of the death of Domitian, the forum was inaugurated by his successor, Nerva, who gave his own name to it. The Forum of Nerva is also known as Transitional Forum, because it worked as an access way, just like via dell'Argileto had done.
Forum of Trajan
The last and also the biggest Forum. The project of this Forum, started under Domitian's reign, was resumed by Trajan between 112 and 113. The occasion was the conquest of Dacia, whose spoils paid for this celebration of the military conquests of Rome. The preparation of the Forum required a lot of work. It was necessary to remove the hilly saddle, and to support the cut of Quirinal Hill through the building of Trajan's market. The Forum square was closed by the Basilica Ulpia, with Trajan's Column at its back. In front of the basilica, a monumental façade was the background of a large, equestrian sculpture of the Emperor. I
In 2007, a museum dedicated to the Imperial Fora was opened in the Trajan's Markets, which once constituted the northern edge of the Forum of Trajan. The new museum, named "Museo dei Fori Imperiali" by the means of sculptures, videos, architectural pieces, and scale models depicts the history of the four forums and the Temple of Peace
Address: Via dei Fori Imperiali, Rome
Metro: line B (Colosseo stop)
Buses: lines 51, 85, 87, 186, 810
Hours: Every day from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, last admission at 3:30 pm
First Sunday of the month free entry
The visit lasts approx. 1 hour
Groups allowed with a maximum of 30 people, booking is recommended