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The exhibition “La Colonna Traiana. The narration of a symbol“, organised and promoted by the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum and Museo Galileo – Institute and Museum of the History of Science under the curatorship of Alfonsina Russo, Federica Rinaldi, Angelica Pujia and Giovanni Di Pasquale will be open from December 22, 2023 to April 30, 2024 at the second order of the Colosseum.

The Column of Trajan was inaugurated on 12 May 113 AD, 1910 years ago. Since its design and construction, the Column represented a challenge for human ingenuity: the extraction of the marble from the quarry in Carrara, its transport by land, sea and river, and finally its fabrication and erection in the Forum of Trajan represented the stages of a daring engineering and technological process that is still a source of wonder and amazement today. In the centuries that followed, thanks to its fortune and the numerous attempts to replicate, design and reproduce it, it became a universal symbol that inspired emperors, popes and sovereigns. The exhibition narrates and explains this symbolic function with two narrative registers: the more properly historical and artistic one, with the daring reconstruction of the frieze on a scale of 1:1, whose coils wind around the pillars of the Colosseum, and the more specifically technical one, with the stages of the transportation and working of the marble, up to the idolatry and political use of the sovereigns of Europe who demanded its reproduction through reproductions and casts.

In order to fully understand the construction process of the Column and with it the fatigue and muscle power of the hundreds of men who contributed to the realisation of this undisputed masterpiece, the main ancient tools used to extract the marble blocks, to transport them by boat and to erect them are displayed in a Coliseum swathed in blue, together with reconstructive models of the construction machines of the time (cranes, towers, wheels), made by Claudio Capotondi, a new “Master of Trajan’s Enterprises”.

Videos and screen projections realised by the Museo Galileo, together with engaging graphics and texts that go beyond the size of the didactic panels to become the visual narration of a single story, offer a more didactic tale as well as a greater understanding of the objects on display in the exhibition. Also contributing to the permanent storytelling of the Column is a webAPP in Italian and English and, thanks to the valuable involvement and collaboration of the Romanian Embassy, also in Romanian.