Trajan’s Market (Mercati di Traiano) is one of the most interesting areas of Rome’s five Imperial Forums, built by Julius Caesar and his successors at the very apex of the Imperial Age. This vast, triple-decker semicircle was ancient Rome’s version of the modern-day shopping mall, and it remains a remarkably intact example of Roman urban planning.
Trajan’s Market, commissioned by Emperor Trajan and designed by Greek architect Apollodorus of Damascus, was constructed between AD 107 and 113 to complete the Forum of Trajan. The market was extensively excavated between the world wars, and today, although Trajan’s Forum is a hodgepodge of fallen columns and plinths, the market is still recognizable. Explore its passageways and main street as part of a small-group ancient Rome tour on foot or by Segway. Also here is the Museum of the Imperial Forums (Museo dei Fori Imperiali), which contains fragments discovered while excavating the archaeological complex, models of ancient temples and buildings, a huge sculpted head of Emperor Constantine, and temporary exhibitions focused on the history of the Roman Empire.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Trajan’s Market tours require a bit of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
- The archaeological site and museum are accessible to wheelchair users.
- Flash photography is not allowed inside the museum.
- You must check backpacks, large bags, and umbrellas at the cloakroom.
How to Get There
Trajan’s Market is located on the side of Quirinal Hill in Rome’s Forum area along Via Quattro Novembre, a 5-minute walk from Colosseo metro station (line B).
When to Get There
Rome is one of the most popular destinations in Italy and can be crowded for much of the year. It’s best to visit in early spring or late fall, when the temperatures are mild for exploring outdoor archaeological sites and crowds are sparse.
The Imperial Fora
Ancient Rome once had five Imperial Forums: the Forum of Caesar, the Forum of Augustus, the Forum of Nerva, the Forum of Trajan, and the Forum of Vespasian. These are concentrated around the area around Via dei Fori Imperiali, near the famous Roman Forum.