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Trajan’s Market Is Where Ancient Romans Loved To Shop

Trajan’s Market is one of the most dramatic ancient Roman sites and this is your guide for planning what you should experience on your next visit to Italy.

Trajan’s Market - Amazing Views

Amazing Views

Trajan’s Market is an amazing complex of Ancient Roman ruins that dominate at one end of Via dei Fori Imperiali, near Piazza Venezia. It is a multi-level structure that lies on Quirinal Hill, which is one of the Seven Hills of Rome, built by Emperor Trajan around the year 100 AD.

Who Was Emperor Trajan?

Emperor Trajan was a Roman Emperor who ruled between the years 98 AD and 117 AD. He was considered to be a good ruler who was philanthropic and a successful military ruler. He was born near what today is Spain and became a high ranking Roman military officer. Because of his success, he was very popular, which was helpful because Roman Emperor Nerva, who was not popular with the army, adopted Trajan as his heir and successor.

In addition to building the Forum named after him, Trajan introduced social welfare policies that subsidized orphans and poor children throughout Italy with cash, food and a subsidized education. This was paid for through the spoils of war, but also estate taxes on landowners. That is a truly progressive stance that needs to be remembered today.

Trajan’s Market - Nikes Foot

Just Do It! (Nike’s Foot)

Why Was Trajan’s Market Famous?

Trajan’s Market was built to house warehouses, shops, and offices of the imperial administration and serve other commercial and administrative purposes. This monumental complex has buildings rising on several levels, on the slopes of the Quirinal Hill with a hemi circular layout.

It was a multifunctional center with administrative activities at the service of the Trajan’s Forum, which was built in the same period.

On the lower part of Trajan’s Market there are two large halls, probably used for auditions or concerts. A shop housed in the Market is known as a taberna, which are the small, individual rooms, used for the sale of goods and services. These remind me of the stalls you will find at a Farmer’s Market still today. The grand hall of the market is roofed by a concrete vault raised on piers, both covering and allowing air and light into the central space. The market itself is constructed primarily out of brick and concrete.

The exhibits are designed according to a mix of communication systems with traditional text panels, multimedia technologies, and interactive installations, for an original approach to visiting the museum.

Trajan’s Market - Giant Heads

Giant Heads Everywhere

What Was Sold At Trajan’s Market?

Trajan’s Market is comparable to a shopping mall of today. When I walked through the complex, it was clear how that analogy can be made, but I would compare it to an indoor food market of today, with the long aisles and individual rooms, which seemed like stalls, but much cooler!

Going along with my food market analogy, Trajan’s Market sold products from across the Roman empire, like fruits and vegetables, fish and meat, wine, olives, grains and spices.

How Long Does It Take To Visit Trajan’s Market?

When I visited, I was self-guided so the length of your visit is totally up to you. For me, I didn’t spend a lot of time reading the details of every sculpture or fragment that was on display because I prefer to enjoy their beauty without getting bogged down with the minutiae of every piece. I took around 90 minutes to see everything, take some pictures, and revisit some rooms that really peaked my interest.

A guided tour service is available in several languages, for a fee and by prior arrangement, with a choice of museum and/or exhibition route. For information and reservations you can call: 060608 daily from 9:00 AM until 7:00 PM.

Trajan’s Market - Recovered Artifacts

Recovered Artifacts

As for accessibility, for such an old building, I was surprised there are ramps into every room, and an elevator to get between the levels. I will caution you that since there are four levels to this structure you will probably notice that there are quite a few stairs that are surprisingly large. It reminded me of the stairs in the Colosseum that are also pretty tall, which I don’t understand because I thought Ancient Romans were generally shorter than today’s residents.

Is Visiting Trajan’s Market Worth It?

I have seen Trajan’s Market many, many times from the perspective of Via dei Fori Imperiali, and I had wondered how the people were able to get down to ground level and walk around such an amazing place. Thankfully I got some motivation and found the entrance on Via Quattro Novembre and I was able to investigate this sprawling structure myself. I found it to be informative and beautiful, especially the views from the upper levels, and I strongly recommend that anyone planning a trip to Rome include a visit. The location is so central to other amazing sites that you will definitely feel like you missed something if you don’t add this to your itinerary.

Do You Need Tickets For Trajan’s Market?

You do need tickets for Trajan’s Market and they can be purchased:

  • ONLINE pre-sale, by calling the Call Center 060608 or at the ticket counter of the Museum with a pre-sale fee of €1. Same-day purchase scan be made at the ticket office:
  • Costs for Adults €13.00, Discounts €11.00
  • For the residents of Rome Capital and the metropolitan area: Adults €12.00, Discounts €10.00. You will need to prove you are a resident.
  • Free admission with a MIC Card.
  • ROMA Pass access is available.

The Address

  • The entrance to the museum of Trajan’s Market (Mercati di Traiano) can be found at: Via Quattro Novembre, 94. 

The Opening Hours

  • Everyday from 9:30 AM until 7:30 PM
  • December 24th and 31st from 9:30 AM until 2:00 PM
  • January 1st 2023 from 11:00 AM until 7:30 PM
  • Last admission one hour before closing
  • Closed May 1st and December 25th
Trajan’s Market - Views

Amazing Views

More Information About Ancient Rome

If you enjoyed this article about Trajan’s Market, then these helpful guides can be useful when planning your vacation in Rome. I’ve listed below some additional information about Ancient Rome and also some suggestions if your plans include shopping at a mall, which you should.

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