Trajan’s Column (Colonna Traiana) is a Roman triumphal column in Italy’s capital city. Erected in 113 A.D., Trajan’s Column stands 42 metres tall (138 ft), which was the exact height of the peak that stood here, which had been leveled for the construction of Trajan’s Forum. The Trajan’s Column is the Imperial Fori’s most stunning sight, and was built using a special variety of marble, called Italian marble or Carrara marble.
It is decorated with relief illustrations portraying scenes from the Dacian Wars and Trajan’s battles against the ancient kingdom of Dacia (modern-day Romania). The Dacian armies of king Decebalus, commonly known as The Brave, occupied the land across the Danube River from Italy. The statue on the top of the column was an eagle, but after Roman Emperor Trajan’s death it was replaced with a statue of Trajan himself. The statue of Trajan was replaced again with one of Saint Peter.
To be found in the centre of Trajan’s Forum, the column portrays scenes from the Dacian Wars in a spiraling relief starting at the top of the column and winding down to its base.
Legend says that the column was saved from destruction thanks to Pope Gregory I, known as Saint Gregory the Great. He was impressed by a decoration representing Roman Emperor Trajan assisting the mother of a dead soldier, that he prayed for Trajan’s pagan soul be saved from hell. God told the Pope that his soul had been saved. Legend also has it that, when Emperor Trajan’s ashes were excavated, his tongue was found perfectly intact, precisely because of his liberation from hell. The area around the column was declared sacred, and the column was saved from demolition.
The column is located at Trajan’s Forum, in the Imperial Fori, right next to Piazza Venezia, in Via dei Fori Imperiali. You can visit it every day of the week but Monday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It takes about an hour to wander the halls of the Trajan’s Market area. Remember that the ticket office closes 1 hour before the site. If you prefer a private guided tour, you can choose from a variety of sightseeing tours that include Trajan’s Column.