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Trajan's Forum and Column

One of the more impressive Forums in the area, with a beautiful triumphal column.

TravelCurious Tip

Don’t overlook the adjacent Trajan’s markets, an impressive six-storey ancient Roman shopping centre.

The destruction of Dacia

Located beside the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, Trajan’s forum was the final Imperial forum to be built. It was commissioned by the emperor Trajan in 112 AD to commemorate his victory over the Dacians in what is now modern Romania.

The imposing forum was designed by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus, who accompanied Trajan on his Dacian campaign, and was financed by the spoils of the Dacian wars. One of many striking sights along the Via dei Fori Imperiali, its imposing column still looms over the district today.

Towering achievement

In order to construct the Forum, whose vast central piazza measures 200 by 120 metres, the sides of Capitoline Hill and Quirinal Hill were excavated to make room. The forum included a triumphal arch, a temple to the deified Trajan, the Basilica Ulpia and two civic libraries as well as Trajan’s Column, and was completed by the adjoining high-rise shopping complex of Trajan’s markets.

The 35 metre triumphal column, also designed by Apollodorus, is intricately decorated with scenes of Trajan’s victory in a sort of propaganda comic-strip. Peer closely at the Carrara marble and you will see a conquering army slaughtering their way through Dacia in a spiralling bas-relief storyline going right up to the top: there are around 2,500 individual figures, and if unfurled the frieze would total a staggering 160 metres in length. Originally the column was topped by a statue of Trajan, which disappeared in the Middle Ages; in 1587 a bronze idol of St. Peter was placed on top by Pope Sixtus V, and this still adorns the top of the column today.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Roman Forum
The political, religious and civic heart of ancient Rome.
Capitoline Museums
Yet another stunning museum of ancient art, in two Michelangelo-designed palaces.
Capitoline Hill
The ceremonial centre of ancient Rome, rejuvenated by Michelangelo in the Renaissance and offering amazing views over the Forum.
Altare della Patria
This dazzling monument to the Unification of Italy dominates the skyline of Rome.
The Forum of Augustus and the Forum of Nerva
Two of Rome's finest Imperial Forums.
Mamertine Prison
Known in antiquity as the Tullianum, the dungeons were used to hold Saint Paul before he was beheaded.

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