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Rome rebuilds part of ancient basilica in Trajan's Forum

Restoration project changes the landscape of Trajan's Forum.

A major restoration project to reconstruct part of the Basilica Ulpia, once the largest basilica in Rome, is currently nearing completion in Trajan's Forum.

An architrave topped by a second tier of three columns in green cipollino marble have been added to the ruins using anastylosis, a restoration process which incorporates the original architectural elements to the greatest degree possible.

For the past century the three cipollino marble columns had been positioned erroneously elsewhere in Trajan's Forum until being restored to their rightful place, along the outer perimeter of the basilica's first nave.

Towering at a height of 23 metres, the partially reconstructed monument adds a whole new dimension to the ancient site, granting visitors a sense of the vast scale of the building which was once dedicated to the administration of justice and commerce.

Built by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the behest of the Emperor Trajan between 106 and 113 AD, the Basilica Ulpia collapsed in the mediaeval era, its ruins pillaged for construction material, before being excavated in the early 19th century and 1930s.

The ambitious restoration project, which got underway in 2021, was funded with a €1.5 million donation from Uzbekistan oligarch Alisher Usmanov in 2015 during the administration of former Rome mayor Ignazio Marino.

In March 2022 Usmanov was sanctioned by the European Union, after Russia invaded Ukraine, with the EU describing the tycoon as having "particularly close ties" with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Last week a top EU court rejected an appeal by Usmanov against the sanctions, Reuters reports.

Restoration works near completion at the Basilica Ulpia in Trajan's Forum. Photo Wanted in Rome.

 

Rome has completed several major restoration projects in recent months, including the reopening after almost 50 years of the Domus Tiberiana between the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.

In January the city opened a new archaeological park on the Caelian Hill along with the Forma Urbis museum, hosting the surviving fragments of an ancient marble map of Rome, while last week a 13-metre high reconstruction of the Colossus of Constantine made world headlines after it was unveiled on the Capitoline Hill.

Photographs of Basilica Ulpia restoration project by Wanted in Rome, 12 February 2024.

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Address Foro Traiano, 1, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome rebuilds part of ancient basilica in Trajan's Forum

Foro Traiano, 1, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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