Good news from Rome. Inauguration of the route from the Roman Forum to the Imperial Forums


Rome – From now on just one ticket will be enough to visit the Roman Forum and the Imperial Forums. This is foreseen by the protocol of understanding illustrated by the Minister for Cultural Heritage Alberto Bonisoli and by the Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi in a press conference.

For the first time, from Saturday 29 June, citizens and tourists will be able to discover an unprecedented path never achieved before, the result of the work initiated in recent months by Mibac, Rome Capital, the Superintendence of the Capitoline Cultural Heritage and the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum. The protocol, in fact, launches an experimental phase (until December 31, 2019) of integrated use of the archaeological area of the Colosseum, which should come into effect from 2020, allowing for the first time the opening to the public of the area of the Roman-Palatine Forum along with the Imperial Forums.

With a single ticket of 16 euros, valid for the entire day, visitors can access the new route that will allow them to cross 3 thousand years of history. Visitors will pass between the two areas, lasting about two hours, in the area between Curia Iulia, Foro di Nerva and Foro di Cesare, while tickets can be purchased both at the ticket offices of the Roman Forum and Palatine and at those of the Trajan’s Column. For young people aged 18 to 25 years, the cost of the ticket is 2 euros and is part of the ‘package’ of benefits introduced by the ministry led by Alberto Bonisoli to encourage boys and girls to visit museums and archaeological sites state.

ROMAN FORUM

In the past, the Forum was a marshy area. Only at the end of the 7th century B.C., after the reclamation of the valley, did the Roman Forum begin to take shape, destined to remain the centre of public life for over a millennium.
Over the centuries the various monuments were built: first the buildings for political, religious and commercial activities, then during the second century BC the civil basilicas, where they carried out the judicial activities. Already at the end of the republican age, the ancient Roman Forum had become insufficient to perform the function of administrative center and representation of the city.
The various dynasties of emperors added only prestigious monuments: the Temple of Vespasian and Titus and that of Antoninus Pius and Faustina dedicated to the memory of the divine emperors, and the monumental Arch of Septimius Severus, built at the western end of the square in 203 AD to celebrate the victories of the emperor over the Parties.
The last major intervention was carried out by Emperor Maxentius in the early years of the fourth century AD when the Temple dedicated to the memory of his son Romulus and the imposing Basilica on the Velia was erected. The last monument created in the Forum was the Column erected in 608 A.D. in honour of the Byzantine Emperor Foca.
After that date part of the area underwent a strong burial, so as to become a place of grazing and take the name of Campo Vaccino, but some monuments continued to live thanks to the transformation into churches. The Curia Iulia became the church of Sant’Adriano; part of the temple of Antonino and Faustina was transformed into the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda, while the temple of Romolo became the church of Saints Cosma and Damiano. In one of the cells of the Temple of Venus and Rome was built in the ninth century the church of Santa Maria Nova. In the sixteenth century on the Mamertino Prison, medieval name of the Tullianum, an ancient prison wanted by Anco Marcio (640-616 BC) where they were held prisoners Catilina, Vercingetorige and, according to a medieval tradition not proven, even St. Peter, was built the church of St. Joseph of Carpenters. Finally, in the seventeenth century, on the ruins of the Secretarium Senatus was rebuilt the church of Saints Luke and Martina.
It will be necessary to wait for the unification of Italy to witness the first systematic excavation work in the area.

The Imperial Forums – Excavation news

The first demolitions in the area of the Imperial Forums began during the Napoleonic domination (1811-1814) to recover the remains of the imperial era. Thus the block corresponding to the Basilica Ulpia in the Forum of Trajan was completely destroyed, mainly including the religious complexes of the Convent of the Holy Spirit and the Conservatory of Santa Eufemia. Thus the central sector of the Basilica Ulpia was found and the Column of Trajan was completely isolated. The result was an area called “Pius VII’s Enclosure”, named after the Pope who completed the works, as remembered by a plaque that still exists today.
A second wave of demolition, this time much more devastating and extensive, was that carried out throughout the area of the Forums between the twenties and thirties of the last century, motivated first by the “liberation” of the structures of the Roman era and then by the need to build a major artery connecting the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia: Via dell’Impero (now Via dei Fori Imperiali), commissioned by Mussolini and inaugurated on October 28, 1932, in the tenth anniversary of the March on Rome. These demolitions concerned the areas of the Forums of Caesar, Peace, Nerva and Trajan, mostly occupied by the so-called “Alessandria Quarter”, built in 1584 on the initiative of the Della Valle family and Cardinal Michele Bonelli, a native of the province of Alessandria (and for this reason called “L’Alessandrino”; his nickname therefore indicated the new district).
Work began in 1924, with the demolition of the Convento dell’Annunziata, built on the remains of the Forum of Augustus, but intensified between 1931 and 1933. In about two years the entire district, 5500 rooms and 5 churches, was completely demolished, the 7000 inhabitants were mostly transferred to the new “villages” that were rising on the outskirts of the city to house the inhabitants expropriated for the great disembowelment that in those years destroyed this important part of the historic center of the city.


PALATINE

On the Palatine Hill are preserved the remains of the settlements of the Iron Age referable to the oldest core of the city of Rome. The hill was the seat of important city cults, including that of the Magna Mater (Cybele) and, between the second and first centuries BC, became the residential district of the Roman aristocracy, with elegant residences characterized by exceptional pictorial and floor decorations, such as those preserved in the House of Griffins. Augustus symbolically chose the hill as the place of his home, which was made up of several buildings, including the House of Livia. Subsequently the hill became the seat of the imperial palaces: the Domus Tiberiana, the Domus Transitoria and then the Domus Aurea, and finally the Domus Flavia, divided into a public and a private sector, known as Domus Augustana. From the complex and partly overlapping plans, it is possible to understand how the various residences were linked together also by underground corridors, often richly decorated too, of which the Neronian Cryptoporticus remains one of the best preserved examples. The presence of imperial palaces on the hill gave rise to a process of identification so that the place-name Palatium has become synonymous with residential building in modern languages.
In the Renaissance, the Palatine became the property of aristocratic families who planted villas, vineyards and gardens there: still today it preserves part of the picturesque Farnese Horti, on the top of the hill, and the Loggia Stati-Mattei with its pictorial decorations. Some of the most significant artifacts found in the excavations, which affected the site from the sixteenth century, are now on display in the Palatine Museum.



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