The Trajan’s Column is an ancient monument built to celebrate the conquest of Dacia by the emperor Trajan. Nearly 2000 years after its construction, the column is almost intact, and it’s the best preserved element of the Trajan’s Forum, the largest Imperial Forum of Rome.
The column, probably built under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus, was inaugurated on May 12, 113 AD, and describes the wars with Dacia held between 101 and 106.
In 1162, a document of the medieval Senate established the column as a public property and forbade its damage. During the 16th century, some private buildings in the vicinity of the column were demolished, to create a space around it, and the monument can be admired from afar.
In 1588, under Pope Sixtus V, the column was renovated by Domenico Fontana. On that occasion, the bronze statue of St. Peter was placed at the top of the column and a fence was erected.
The column is 29.78 meters in height, or 39.86 meters if you include the pedestal and the statue on top, has a 3.83 meters in diameter, and is made from 20 Carrara marble blocks, each weighing about 40 tones.
Its spiral bas relief measures about 200 meters in lenght, and winds around the column 23 times. Inside, a spiral staircase of 185 steps provides access to the platform at the top.
The bas relief is composed from 155 scenes animated by about 2,500 figures. The first half of the scenes refers to the first military campaign in Dacia, which took place between 101 and 102, and the second half depicts the second campain of Trajan in Dacia, which took place between 105 and 106.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Trajan’s Column is located close to the northern end of the Via dei Fori Imperiali and about 80 meters away from the Piazza Venezia. The closest Metro station is Colosseo, about 700 meters away, on the Metro Line B. The closest bus station is Fori Imperiali/Campidoglio, located near the column, on the bus Lines 51, 85 and 87.