At the end of the Republican Age, when Rome had become the capital of a vast empire stretching from Gaul to Asia Minor, the old Roman Forum proved to be too cramped to efficiently serve as the city’s administrative and monumental centre, to be the very hub of public life. In 54 B.C., Julius Caesar was the first to come up with another square, originally intended as merely a straightforward extension of the Republican Forum.
Caesar’s Forum was followed by Augustus’, then the Transitional (built by the Emperor Domitian and inaugurated by the Emperor Nerva) and, finally, Trajan’s Forum, which is undoubtedly the grandest. Together, the archaeological sites make up, from an urban standpoint, an organic complex renamed in the modern era the “Imperial Forums”, reaching from Capitol Hill (Campidoglio) to the foot of the Quirinale Hill. Between 1924 and 1932, the Imperial Forums resurfaced following the demolition of which had been over the centuries built on top so as to clear the way for today’s Via dei Fori Imperiali.