Foro di Traiano
The last, most splendid and ambitious of the Imperial fora was built between AD107 and 112. Its vast complex comprised the largest basilica ever built in Rome, Greek and Latin libraries, the Colonna di Traiano, and the Mercato di Traiano, the Roman version of a multilevel shopping mall. The majestic complex was designed by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus. It was completed under the emperor Hadrian and its construction included the cutting back and levelling of a spur of the Quirinal hill.
Erected to celebrate victories over the Dacians, Trajan's column is decorated with superbly intricate reliefs - that were originally painted - depicting battles. This was the original colum, upon which Colonna Antonino was based, but Trajan's sufferd the same fate as his great-grandson when Pope Sixtus V replaced his statue with one of St Peter.
The Imperial fora - specifically those of Trajan, Caesar, Nerva and Augustus - were built between 42BC and AD112. In 1933 Mussolini's thoroughfare from Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum, the Via dei Fori Imperiali, was built over them, and their excavation is recent and ongoing.