Forum of Nerva Rome

Forum of Nerva Rome

The Forum of Nerva is one of the Fori Imperiali in Rome and was built by Nerva‘s predecessor Domitian. Nerva was however the one who inaugurated it in 97 A.D., one year after Domitian‘s death. It is also known under the name Transitory Forum, since it is located in a narrow space between the Forum of Caesar, the Forum of Augustus and the Forum of Peace.

Forum of Nerva Rome

History and description

Before the Forum of Nerva was constructed there used to be a road, the Argiletum, connecting the Roman Forum and the area that used to be known as Suburra.

During the early Middle Ages some dwellings were constructed on top of the original floor of the Forum. In the 16th century the Chiavicone, a large sewer, was built to drain the unhealthy, marshy area.


Colonnacce Forum of Nerva Rome
Attic on the Via Cavour side

The absence of porticoes in the Forum of Nerva is explained by the lack of space. It had a colonnade which was connected to the rear wall via architraves. Of this colonnade only two columns and a section of the surrounding wall are still visible on the Via Cavour side. The columns are generally referred to as Colonnacce (“ugly, ruined columns”).

Attic in the Forum of Nerva

The attic above the columns shows a bas-relief of what was long thought to be Minerva. Nowadays it is believed to be a personification of the Pirusti, a Balcan people that had been subjected by the Romans.

The frieze used to extend all along the Forum, but now only 25 meters remain. The reliefs show stories of the goddess.

Temple of Minerva

On the Suburra side there used to be a temple dedicated to Minerva, who was Domitian‘s protective Goddess.

The Temple of Minerva was finally destroyed in 1606, when Pope Paul V needed building materials in order to construct the Acqua Paola Fountain on the Janiculum Hill.

The horse-shoe shaped exedra behind the space where the temple used to be was called the Porticus Ansidiata. This was a monumental entrance to the Forum of Nerva.

Via dei Fori Imperiali – Rome

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