Trajan’s Market, or Mercatus Traiani in Italian, is a large ruin of Rome’s ancient market. Located in the Via dei Fori Imperiali on the slope of Quirinale hills, Trajan’s Market was built as an integral part of Trajan’s Forum. Known as the first shopping mall to build in Europe, the market building was built from brick in semi-circular shape and ended with small exedras covered with halve domes at both ends. The market building was built up to six levels in some parts and is still admired as one of finest examples of Roman urban architecture.
History of Trajan’s Market
The market was believed to be built by an architect called Apollodorus of Damascus between 100 and 110 AD. Stories tell that this particular architect always followed Trajan wherever he went. Later during Middle Age, the market complex was renovated by adding floor levels and the militia tower or Torre delle Milizie which was built in 1200.
The Tower of Militia was then renovated in the late of 18 century. Two-thirds of thee original tower was then redefined into cement covered brick. The new tower now has three entrances.
A convent was known to be built later in Trajan’s Market area. However, it was destroyed in order to restore Trajan’s Market for people of the world to see.
The historians believe that the three upper levels of the market were used as the administrative office of the market. Those offices then were connected to a large warehouse, possibly to store all supplies for the shops in the market. These three levels are called the Great Hall and Central Body.
The three lower levels of the market, so-called the Great and Small Hemicycle, were the ones used for the trading activities. All variety of stuff and foods could be found in this market from vegetables, fruits, wine, oil, and other grocery items. These little shops in form of small cubicles with small windows and a large opening to the street are called “tabernaes.”
Moreover, there were two large halls in the lower part of the market, possibly used by Roman citizens for public events such as concerts or speeches.
Museo dei Fori Imperiali
Trajan’s Market is now turned into a museum named Museo dei Fori Imperiali. Some Italian architects and designers did a great work in adding new accents like glass panels and subtle lighting to this ruin of Rome’s ancient market. The museum was officially launched in 2008 after underwent two years renovation process.
The museum houses wonderful artifacts from ancient Rome civilization including a giant bronze foot of Mars, the god of war, and a tiny bust of a Roman philosopher. There is an exhibit of one Imperial Forum in each chamber of the former Trajan’s Market. The most famous are Caesar’s, Augustus’, and Trajan’s himself.
Visiting Trajan’s Market
To enter Trajan’s Market complex, the new entrance is Via Quattro Novembre, 94 and Piazza Madonna di Loreto. Now, the market has been turned into a museum which houses ancient Roman artifacts to see. However, when visitors are done with the museum collection, they can walk around to see the ruins of the Trajan’s Forum. The most popular feature of Trajan’s Forum is the column which is also the most noticeable part of all the ruins.
Enjoy also a series of large modern minimalist sculpture by Kan Yasuda which bring contrast to their ancient stone ruins surroundings.
Museo dei Fori Imperiali is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 09.00 to 19.00, closed on Monday. Please note that the ticket box is close one hour before Trajan’s Market closing time.
The ticket for Trajan’s Market is €11 full price and €9 for reduced price. It can be purchased online (plus additional charge) or on the spot.