If you’re visiting the capital, it’s almost a must to take a tour of the Imperial Forums to see what remains of the “squares” built by some of the greatest Roman emperors in honor of the grandeur of their empires. Less than a century ago, what today appears to be one of Rome’s most important tourist objectives, the Imperial Forums in the Via dei Fori Imperiali, were almost non-existent. In the early nineteenth century, only a portion of what was below the level of the road at the time was placed in the open, and between one house and another, I could see some sections of the ancient Roman ruins.
It was not until the Fascist era, starting in 1924, that Mussolini carried out major demolitions that brought to light most of what we see today, with the intention of creating the “Street of the Empire”, later called the Street of the Imperial Forums, because it connects the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia.
The imperial forums represent the ancient beauty of the city of Rome, and offer the many tourists of the capital a valuable historical setting. The imperial forums located in the homonymous street in a spectacular position between the Flavio amphitheater (known as the Colosseum), the Roman forum and Piazza Venezia, as we have said, represent one of the most important tourist places in the capital. In ancient imperial Rome, they were the main place of public and private life and thanks to their visit, it is possible to return to the most glorious era of the capital.
The daily life of the forums
The forum was the basis of Roman life, the center of commerce, politics and religion in ancient Rome. Large crowds gathered to attend rallies or to admire the leaders on parade after their triumphs, with the prisoners tied in chains to the wheels of their carriages. In these forums, processes were celebrated and the most important decisions were made concerning the politics and administration of the empire. The forum was the place around which turned the political, religious and legal life of the city, so with the Greeks had the “agorà”, the Romans had the forum.
How to get to the forums
You can reach the Imperial Forums from the pedestrian area, the path that starts from Piazza Venezia and goes towards the Colosseum, bordered by the forums and the imposing Mercato Traiano, designed by the great architect Apollodoro di Damasco and composed of over 150 stores. They were also used as warehouses and storage of goods, but now house the Museum of the Imperial Forums, which preserves the pieces found during the excavations.
Forum of Caesar
The Forum of Caesar 46 BC was the first to be built and served as a model for the successive forums. It is a monument financed by Caesar and dedicated to the goddess Venus.
Forum of Augustus
The Forum of Augustus 2 BC contains the temple of Mars Ultor, god of vengeance. The temple was completed in the second year after Christ and inserted in a second square and along the arches were held the activities of the courts. They were decorated with statues of characters from Greek and Latin mythology and the history of Rome and the family of Giulia.
Temple of Peace
The Temple of Peace 75 AD. Vespasian gave the order to build a square, near the forum of Augustus and Caesar, towards the Colosseum. Such a square was not considered a forum until it was built as a forum of peace. The forum has a square shape and was originally surrounded by portals. It was built to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem at the time when Vespasian was emperor.
Forum Nerva or Forum Transition
The Forum Nerva or Forum Transition 98 d. C. was ordered by Domiziano to unify the area that contained the forums. The square that constitutes the Forum Nerva put in communication between them all the already existing temples. The temple is destined to the goddess Minerva, protector of the emperor. The death of Domiziano by assassination allowed his successor to inaugurate his name to the forum, which was almost finished.
The Forum Traiano 112 – 113 d. C. was born from a project of Domiziano that engaged part of the heritage of the campaigns Dacia. The Forum celebrated the victory of the Emperor, the work of realization of the forum of Traiano was impressive. The forum of Traiano is the last and the biggest of the forums of Rome perfectly preserved in the stump narrated in low relief, the two campaigns led by Traiano against the Daci.
The five Forums had imposing dimensions, just like the power of the Roman Empire at that time. Between the Forum of Trajan and the Forum of Augustus is the building where the elegant Lógia dos Cavaleiros de Malta, also called “Terrazza Domizianea”, is located.
Flávio Amphitheater or the Colosseum
At the end of the visit to the Imperial Forums, we can reach the Flavio Amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum, built by the emperors Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. In addition to daytime visits, it is also possible to visit the Imperial Forums at night and enjoy the lighting specially created to give even more magic to these places.
The Imperial Fora area can be seen for free in the Imperial Fora street. To access the Markets and Forum of Traiano complex, you must purchase your ticket for the Museum of the Imperial Forums.
Via dei Fori Imperiali, 00187 Roma RM, Italy