The Via Fori Imperiali which runs from piazza Venezia to the colosseum, it is perhaps the most scenic road in Rome. Flanked on both sides by the ancient Roman city centre; on the left the imperial forums built by the emperors and on the right the forum of Caesar, the great forum (forum Romanum) and a portion of the forum of peace.
This modern road, built in 1932 by Mussolini was completed for the 10th anniversary of Mussolini’s Fascist party comping into power. The construction of the road destroyed one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods of the city, bulldozing through 19 city blocks formerly known as the ‘Alessandrino’ quarter and displacing over 5,000 residents.
The road also covers large portions of the Forums of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Vespasian (Peace), Nerva, and Trajan. Completed in only 11 months, the archaeologists did not have time to properly catalogue their findings; still decades later it is impossible to say which forum many artefacts came from. The bronze statues of the emperors that still decorate the road were added by Mussolini in an effort to pay tribute to the emperors whose forums he destroyed. One emperor is missing – Vespasian, father of the Flavian Dynasty (COL?FLAV DYN); no statues of him were placed in his forum and Mussolini had no idea that the Forum of Peace was, in fact, Vespasian’s forum.
Tourism in Rome grew in the 1950’s thanks to popular movies like ‘Roman Holiday’, by the 1960s the Via Fori Imperiali became one of the Grand Boulevards in Europe. Soon it was a main thoroughfare in Rome, with so much traffic that the monuments began to turn black from the exhaust fumes. By 2013, Rome had one of the worst traffic problems of Europe, with over 1,600 vehicles traversing Via Fori Imperiale every hour during peak times. When Ignazio Marino, became Mayor in 2013, his first official edict was to ban public traffic from Via Fori Imperiali. Today, traffic is limited to taxis, buses, and official vehicles only, and is entirely pedestrian on Sundays. At night it takes on a personality of its own, with enhanced lighting creating an ambience that has an ethereal quality thanks to the ruins of Ancient Rome.
Recently, the city of Rome has created an entirely new way to experience the Via Fori Imperiali and its imperial forums. For only 15 Euro each or a combined 25 Euro, you can experience the multimedia projects in the forums of Augustus and Julius Caesar/Trajan. The forum of Augustus allows visitors to purchase headsets and sit on bleachers in front of the forum and watch projections that transport you back to the time of Augustus explaining the history of this forum in a series of light and sound that enhances the total experience. The access to the Forum of Julius Caesar begins at the Column of Trajan and takes visitors on a journey walking into the Forum of Trajan and under the excavations below Via Fori Imperiali into the Forum
of Julius Caesar. Once inside the Forum of Julius Caesar, the adventure continues with the multimedia experience including some places to rest your feet and enjoy visuals along with a narration about the role of forum life as well as the life of Julius Caesar.
You can learn more about how to access the multimedia experiences and buy tickets at http://www.viaggioneifori.it/en/