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The Museums

The new Roman Forum Museum

The Roman Forum Museum is housed in the ground floor of the Cloister of Santa Maria Nova: the exhibition itinerary displays the Roman Forum contexts excavated by the archaeologist/architect Giacomo Boni in the early 20th century.

The first Antiquarium of the Forum was established by Boni in 1908 in the premises of the Convent of Santa Francesca Romana/Santa Maria Nova -a building erected by Pope Alexander VI between 1492 and 1503- with the aim of presenting to the public the results of the excavations conducted in those years in the area of the Roman Forum. The Antiquarium consisted of nine exhibition rooms and was to become a cultural centre for research and study. In the presentation of the archaeological materials, the integrity of the excavated sites was respected, in the belief that single artefacts retain their historical and archaeological value only if displayed within their original context. Over time, the Antiquarium’s collection was expanded with the display of materials from the investigations of Dante Vaglieri, Alfonso Bartoli, Pietro Romanelli and Gian Filippo Carettoni.

In the new Forum Museum two rooms are dedicated to the cemetery investigated by Giacomo Boni in 1902-1905 in the area of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. During the excavations, a total of forty-one tombs were unearthed: four belonging to children related to archaic dwellings (late 6th-5th century B.C.), twelve to children associated with huts datable between the late 8th and 7th century B.C., and twenty-five pit and grave tombs referable to the Early Iron Age (ca. 10th century B.C.) and related to the nucleus of burials that extended in this area before its use as a settlement zone. In the Museum -next to a picture gallery with drawings made by the draughtsmen who worked with Giacomo Boni- one can observe a series of tombs ‘set up’ in showcases specially designed by the Venetian archaeologist and restored to their original colours. In the new itinerary, these ‘showcased tombs’ have been placed inside new display cases, as part of an integrated exhibition system that evokes the moment of the discoveries: the tombs are dispalyed inside large illuminated glass chambers that interact with the polychrome floors, already restored by Boni. These are incineration tombs dating from around the 10th century B.C. (Latium phase IIA) with grave goods comprising hut urns, miniature handmade vases or objects of normal size, inhumation burials in pits dating from the 10th century B.C. and tombs related to the later settlement with grave goods consisting of pots made on a wheel.

In order to facilitate understanding of this burial ground, a room has been dedicated to the large model, made by Giacomo Boni, which reproduces the burial area. All the archaeological evidence brought to light in this sector of the Forum is faithfully reproduced. The plastic model testifies to the scientific rigour of Boni, who also adopted the stratigraphic method in the field research in this area and paid special attention to the gathering of all materials and to their documentation, accompanying each stage of the investigation with plans, sections and photographs. The exhibition continues in the rooms overlooking the Temple of Venus and Rome, dedicated to the origins of Rome in a dialogue between sculptural groups and architectural elements, represented respectively by the Fonte di Giuturna complex and the frieze of the Basilica Aemilia.

In Room 2 of the Museum, are displayed the marble statues of the divine twins Castor and Pollux (the Dioscuri), who, according to tradition, announced the victory over the Latins at the Battle of Lake Regillus (499 or 496 BC) in Rome precisely at this fountain. The monumental complex, discovered by Boni in 1900, shows a continuity of life from archaic to medieval times. In the 2nd century B.C., the fountain was enclosed in a rectangular basin, later adorned with statues of gods such as Apollo and Aesculapius, exhibited in the Museum rooms next to the wellhead with an Augustan inscription. From the Basilica Aemilia, founded in 179 BC by the censors M. Aemilius Lepidus and M. Fulvius Nobilior, a series of reliefs depicting the highlights of Rome’s history (Romulus and Remus setting out to found the new city; the building of the walls of a city, possibly Rome or Lavinus; the Rape of the Sabine Women; the feast in honour of the grain god Conso; a battle scene; the punishment of Tarpeia; the Parentalia) are exhibited.

Room 3 of the Museum is dedicated to the sacred areas of the Roman Forum with large, specially designed showcases, which mark out the space in an itinerary that aims to restore the image of some important findings: namely Giacomo Boni’s investigations: in the Lapis Niger, the Equus Domitiani/Doliola and the Regia. A circular vitrine, placed in the centre of the room, evokes in its shape, the features of the aedes Vestae. The theca houses finds from the Boni excavations of the Boni in the Sanctuary of Vesta and  in the house of the Vestal Virgins; findings made by Alfonso Bartoli during the investigation of two wells in the courtyard of the Sanctuary are also diplayed. Finally, the room houses the important finds belonging to the so-called votive deposit of the Capitoline Cliff, excavated between the 1980s and 1990s by the Archaeological Superintendence of Rome.

The exhibition project and work direction were undertaken by COR arquitectos (Cremascoli, Okumura, Rodrigues) with Flavia Chiavaroli.

Tickets

24h – Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine

Ticket valid for 1 day with 1 entrance to the Colosseum, without access to the arena, and 1 entrance to the archaeological area of the Roman Forum, Imperial Fora and Palatine.

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Full Experience

Valid for two consecutive days, it allows only one access to the Colosseum and one access to the archaeological area of the Roman Forum, Imperial Fora and Palatine, including ongoing exhibitions.

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Forum Pass SUPER ticket

Roman Forum-Palatine and Imperial Fora in a single itinerary. One ticket gives you access to the new route, which allows you to visit the archaeological heart of Rome in about two hours: the Roman Forum, the Imperial Fora and the Palatine.

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Membership Card

FREE ENTRANCE
24h – Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine
SUPER Forum Pass

Unlimited admission, discounts, reserved events and priority booking.

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Accessibility and services

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How to get here

Il Museo del Foro Romano si trova all’interno del complesso di Santa Maria Nova.

Entrando dal varco dell’Arco di Tito, l’edificio si trova sulla destra rispetto all’arco; entrando dal varco di Largo della Salara Vecchia, è necessario percorrere per intero la via Sacra sulla cui sommità l’edificio è ben visibile.