Opened to the public in 2007, Trajan’s Markets is not as nearly visited as it should be. Even though located very close to Piazza Venezia, right beside the Trajan’s Column everybody can see during a standard Rome tour, it attracts a fraction of the numbers the Colosseum sees every day. Probably its entrance behind Piazza Venezia is a little hidden from the main tourist route and makes it a little harder to find it, but I guarantee you, it’s totally worth the detour.
The Markets were built at the beginning of the 2nd century AD to hide and support the cut made on the slopes of the Quirinale hill to build Trajan’s Forum
It might not be on your list if you have only one day in Rome, but if you can afford at least 3 days in the eternal city, I recommend considering it because it inevitably great adds value to your trip. We have thoroughly visited it and while I was expecting to be done in about an hour or so, we wandered around the markets and museum for more than two hours. It was so interesting that we didn’t even notice the passing of time and that lunch hour was nearing the end. This is how you can enjoy the museum and what to expect.
What to See at Trajan’s Markets in Rome
Just like the name evokes, Trajan’s Markets are a fantastic archaeological site in central Rome. Re-discovered at the beginning of the 20th century and entirely repurposed between 2005 and 2007, this was a multifunctional center at the service of the adjacent Trajan’s Forum, so dealing with the administrative duties of the place where the emperor organized his public functions and official events.
Its layout consists of several buildings on the street and is structured on six layers on the slopes of the Quirinale hill. From the building, after walking along the Great Hemicycle, you can go down and step inside the actual Trajan’s Forum, the large archaeological site you see from Piazza Venezia. This is truly an incredible visit because the markets are a large ancient building displaying a rich collection of relics and the forum itself is an important landmark from imperial Rome.
Trajan’s Markets is not only an archaeological site like, for example, the Colosseum or the Roman Forum. All across the buildings of the complex, in fact, is the Museo dei Fori Imperiali, one of Rome’s richest museums. Your tour will start from the ground floor right after the entrance with a visit to the Great Hall, probably the venue for official ceremonies, and the introduction to the complex of the markets and the history of the Imperial Fora. Follow along with the rest of the rooms, each of them devoted to the introduction of every single imperial forum ending with the section devoted to Trajan’s Forum and the 17th-century cistern where you will see a collection of amphorae.
Among all the exhibitions, some fascinating collections are on the upper floor with relics from Caesar and Augustus Fora, the public spaces of two of Rome’s most important figures and leaders. Trajan’s Markets are obviously conceptually and geographically linked to the city’s imperial fora, so arguably the best place to set up such a fascinating museum. Wander the alleys and the decorations of Caesar’s Forum (46 BC), Augustus’ Forum (2 BC), the Templum Pacis (75 AD), Nerva’s Forum (97 AD) and Trajan’s Forum itself (112 and 113 AD), the imperial fora recognized as a superb collection of monumental squares built in about 150 years in the center of Rome for the administrative and judiciary activities as well as venues for celebrations and official events. Going down from the Great Hemicycle, where offices and archives of the tax clerks were, towards the ancient Via Biberatica road, step outside the Markets in the actual forum of the emperor Trajan where you will find relics of carved pillars and walls.
Address: Via Quattro Novembre 94.
How to reach: Very easy here with public transport, any bus going down Via Nazionale from Stazione Termini such as 64 or 40 Express. If you are coming from the other side, any bus stopping at Piazza Venezia such as 51, 60, 63, 81, 64, 628, or tram n. 8.
Opening hours: Daily 9.30 am-7.30 pm. Last entrance an hour before closing.
Entrance fee: €11,50.
What to See near the Trajan’s Markets
Trajan’s Markets are in the very city center, literally minutes from Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso and Fontana di Trevi, so you will be close to most Rome’s major landmarks. The place is a perfect fit in between any of the normal things you can do in the Centro Storico and Tridente area, whether this is sightseeing or heavy shopping.
Along Via del Corso, do some window shopping, duck into Galleria Alberto Sordi for some more boutiques, take a little detour to see the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, or head forward to the Spanish Steps and Trinità dei Monti before ending up in the beautiful Piazza del Popolo from which you can go sideways and visit the other two roads of the Tridente, Via Ripetta and Via del Babuino, and do some extra shopping.
If you have already visited Tridente and Centro Storico, from Trajan’s Markets you can head uphill and get around the lovely Monti neighborhood. Even though quite a popular place among travelers, you will find some important hidden gems including the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli, or a lovely vintage market, as well as experience the “square” lifestyle so dear among Romans sitting outside, enjoying a meal al fresco, strolling the streets.
Where to Eat near the Trajan’s Markets
In the immediate surroundings of the museum, I didn’t really find worth-mentioning eateries, but with a short walk, you will find a few restaurants around the Trevi Fountain you might want to check, such as Baccano, good food, large, very comfortable, albeit a little pricey.
If you are up for a casual but lovely meal, balanced and healthy, head up Via del Corso towards Piazza del Popolo and turn right on Via Borgognona to grab a table at Ginger Sapori restaurant. If you have time for some extra walk, try your luck at Armando al Pantheon, one of Rome’s best restaurants serving delicious Roman traditional dishes.