Rome rebuilds Basilica Ulpia in Trajan’s Forum

Major project result of fundraising efforts by former Rome mayor Ignazio Marino.

A project is underway that will change the landscape of Trajan’s Forum in the heart of Rome.

The Basilica Ulpia, built by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the behest of the Emperor Trajan between 106 and 113 AD, is to receive a new lease of life thanks to a €1.5 million donation from an Uzbekistan businessman.

The patron was convinced to donate the funds for this purpose by the former mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, who announced the news on social media with the message: “Today is truly a very beautiful day.”

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Marino recalled that after having pedestrianised Via dei Fori Imperiali in 2013 he oversaw the raising of seven columns at the Temple of Peace and opened excavations at Via Alessandrina, in addition to introducing a new lighting system and launching popular light shows at night in the Forum of Augustus and the Forum of Caesar.

Seven years later, the latest project dating from the Marino era will see the Basilica Ulpia revived using anastylosis, a reconstruction technique whereby the ruins are restored using the original architectural elements to the greatest degree possible.

The effect will add a whole new dimension to the ancient site – once dedicated to the administration of justice and commerce – granting visitors a better grasp of the vast scale of the building which collapsed in the mediaeval era, its ruins pillaged for construction material.

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“A reconstructed architrave will be superimposed on the columns already raised decades ago” – reports Artribune – “with further original columns from the basilica mounted above the architrave in green cipollino marble, previously installed erroneously in other parts of the Forum.”

The structure will reach a height of 23 metres, according to Artribune, with the work carried out by a team of companies led by SAC which was behind the construction of Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI in Rome.