At the end of our time in Rome, we visited Trajan’s Forum and Market. It has been heavily reconstructed and was a bit confusing to visit as we were not sure where to go from one section to the other. Trajan’s Market was built probably in 100-110 CE and could be considered the largest shopping mall. There were administrative offices as well as apartments above. Unexpectedly as we wandered through we found exhibits of all kinds of contemporary works (photographs mostly) and in one small corner a photographic survey of the occupation of Afghanistan with photos from the 19th century juxtaposed with photos from 2010. Pretty interesting in a setting of the powerful Roman empire.
Trajan’s column was a bit of a disappointment from photographs I’d seen though from above it is quite a monument. It’s similar to the triumphal column of Marcus Aurellius we saw a few days before. Of course, statues of the emperors were eventually replaced with statues of saints. Not sure which ones.
We also made a visit to the Palatine Hill and saw the ruins of the pleasure gardens, fountains, and shady parks the emperors enjoyed and there are great views overlooking the Colosseum and the Forum which one forgets is right in the middle of town. It really is remarkable that people actually live in historic Rome unlike the other Italian cities of Florence and Venice which seem more and more to be tourist amusement parks. Probably the most interesting thing to us was the “Post Classici” exhibit of contemporary Italian art throughout the Palatine Hill and the Forum. Much food for thought- now on to Sicily.