Rome Gets a New Museum
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The newly-opened Imperial Forums Museum occupies the ruins of boutiques, food stores and workshops that formed Emperor Trajan's Market (nicknamed The World's First Shopping Mall). Across the street from the Roman Forum, the new installation occupies the Great Hall and part of the central body of the market (built between 100 and 110 AD), and is designed to illustrate the history of ancient Rome's public meeting areas. Having fallen into total ruin, this once-bustling market was built over in the Middle Ages and then extensively excavated under Mussolini, who created a new road, the Via dei Fori Imperiali to connect the Coliseum with Piazza Venezia. Today it is one of Rome's main thoroughfares, cutting right through the heart of the classical remains. As a consequence, the Imperial forums, many of which are still being excavated, are hard for ordinary visitors to understand, so the new Imperial Forums Museum uses replicas to help visitors orientate themselves, and has different galleries dedicated to forums and temples. It also houses a giant head of Constantine, found in 2005 in an old sewer, and 172 large marble fragments from the imperial forums, most of which had been in storage for years. They are also shown with drawings to illustrate where they fitted into the overall scheme. Also on view are 15 plaster models and 12 life-size recreations of parts of Augustus' and Nerva's Forums next door. The models are painted in brilliant colors, which was typical in ancient Roman. The museum is located at via IV Novembre 94, up the hill from Piazza Venezia, open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-7pm, closed January 1, May 1 and December 25. Click here for the web site.


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