A momentous piece of ancient history has been reintroduced to the public in Rome with the formal inauguration of the Museum of the Forma Urbis. The museum, nestled within a newly established archaeological park near the Colosseum, marks a strategic initiative by the city to enhance its appeal to the growing influx of tourists. During the opening ceremony, Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri expressed satisfaction, emphasizing the project’s objective of seamlessly linking the city’s streets with its museums, thereby offering visitors an opportunity to both appreciate the city’s aesthetic charm and gain insights into its historical evolution.

The Forma Urbis, a meticulously detailed marble map crafted between 203 and 211 AD during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus, spans 18 by 13 meters, intricately showcasing the layout of ancient Rome. Despite its gradual disintegration over time, approximately 10% of the map has been preserved, featuring key sections such as the Colosseum and Circus Maximus. These fragments, not collectively displayed since 1924, now find their place in the museum, presented on a reproduction of an 18th-century map of Rome by Giovanni Battista Nolli. This innovative setting serves not only to facilitate an understanding of the ancient city’s layout but also offers valuable insights into its relation to the evolving Renaissance city. The open-air park surrounding the museum, located on the Caelian Hill, is adorned with walkways featuring ancient Roman grave markers and marble columns, making a significant contribution to Rome’s ongoing refurbishment efforts. The 5-million-euro project breathes new life into the Caelian Hill, establishing it as a key cultural hub that ties together historic areas such as the Imperial Forums, Roman Forum, Colosseum, and the Appia Antica region.