Trajan’s Markets are a monumental complex with different buildings separated by urban streets. These buildings are on six different levels.They were built in the early second century AD, at the same time as Trajan’s Forum. They are a masterpiece of Roman engineering, in bricks (Roman concrete with outside wall covering in bricks). Plan and elevation of rooms are adapted to the cut of the hill slopes. The buildings were probably used as offices and archives related to the administrative and judicial activities that took place in the Imperial Fora.
Actually the upper part of the complex houses the Museum of the Imperial Fora. The aim of the Museum is to present the architecture and the sculptural decoration of the Fora. The architectural orders are presented in reconstructions including original fragments, casts and stone integrations. The tour starts in the Great Hall (the Museum entrance) with a general introduction to the Imperial Fora. On the upper floor of the Museum, there are the sections for the Caesar’s Forum and “Memory of the Antiquity” (Temple of Mars Ultor). In the Central Block there is the section about the Forum of Augustus (porticoes and exedras).
Recently an extraordinary collection of amphorae was displayed in a 17th century cistern at the entrance level. Coming down to the level of the Trajan’s Forum some elements of the future section about this Forum are displayed in the two so called “Aule di Testata”.