TRAJAN'S FORUM, Introduction

Audio File length: 2.48
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, I'm Alyson, your personal guide. Together with MyWoWo, I'd like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world.

Today I'll accompany you through Trajan's Forum, which is one of the most exciting places in Rome!

You may already know this, but the large squares that were built in the heart of Rome by the emperors are called the "Imperial Fora", the last of which was built by Trajan around the year 110 AD, with no expense spared. The emperor turned to the greatest architect and urban planner of his time and entrusted him to design an archaeological complex dominated by a column covered with incomparable sculptures that would soon be renamed "the eighth wonder of the world". Reaching Trajan's Forum may seem a bit difficult because of the traffic, but it's very interesting not only for its archaeological ruins but also because you can see other notable buildings of different ages around it, such as the two domed churches and the medieval Torre delle Milizie.

You should know that Trajan's Forum arose from the construction excavations of a stretch of the Quirinal, the highest of Rome's historical hills. It was connected to the market square and was mostly a place for commerce and celebrations. Passing under a triumphal arch, ancient Romans would enter a magnificent semicircular square surrounded by porticoes with a series of taverns and shops. A two-story building served as a place for bargaining, and the bronze statue of the emperor on horseback stood in the middle.

The Ulpia Basilica once stood next to the Forum; now you can see some of its surviving columns. In a courtyard behind the basilica, there was a library and the complex's most precious element: Trajan's Column, a universal masterpiece of art. Before I describe it, let me give you some of its statistics: it's thirty meters tall, consists of three and a half meter thick marble blocks, and the spiral bas-relief band that runs along its shaft is about 200 meters long and contains about 2500 figures, which are organized in such a way that we could even call it cinematographic.

 

FUN FACT: did you know that there is an isolated colony of fresh water crabs inside the forum? They have been genetically mapped by the scientific community. These gigantic crabs are thought to have survived from the time when fish and crustaceans were sold in the forum's markets. They have certainly shown remarkable adaptability!

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