The external brick Roman complex, popularly known as the Markets of Trajan and today found in the heart of the modern city, has been miraculously handed down to us. Sited next to the great squares of the Imperial Forums the monument encompasses almost two thousand years of the city’s history. The marks impressed upon its structure through time preserves the memories of the men and women who frequented, used and reused its spaces in so many different ways.
To maintain the cutting made into the side of the Quirinal Hill a complex system of anti-chambers on six levels was conceived. The structure exemplified the construction technique of cement pouring coupled with various types of vault coverings. Together they made for flexibility in the height difference through “lining” the cutting and at the same time provided the communication links between the monumental public spaces of the Antiquarium Forense (Forum District) and the dispersed residential quarters of the Quirinal Hill and the Subura (suburbs).
Due to the dismantlement of the raised sections, it is now all but impossible to perceive what the construction would have hidden, almost crushed, behind the western perimeter walls of its Great Hemicycle. Even with only a partial vision of the complex, now crowded out by pedestrian pathways and other buildings, we can only image the impact the 40 meter high Markets of Trajan must have had, especially when placed in its historical context.