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 Fora”, reaching from Capitol Hill (Campidoglio) to the foot of the Quirinale Hill. Between 1924 and 1932, the Imperial Fora 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.
From 21 April 2015, the Imperial Fora have new lighting, conceived and created by the Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro and the architect Francesca Storaro.
Today, the archaeological area of the Imperial Fora can be visited, with the entrance in Piazza Santa Maria di Loreto, at the Trajan's Column. The route of the visit, following the walkway on the site, includes a part of the Trajan's Forum, passing under via dei Fori Imperiali along the cellars of the ancient houses of the Alessandrino Quarter, then crossing the Forum of Caesar and ending near the Forum of Nerva, from where you will exit on Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Imperial Forums are open to organized groups (booking required at 060608).
Entrance: Piazza Santa Maria di Loreto (Colonna Traiana).
From June 29th one big archaeological path from the Imperial Forum to the Roman Forum (€ 16,00)