Archaeology and Contemporary Art

FOROF is a unique reality in Rome that combines archeology and contemporary art, history and experimentation, offering diversified services and an innovative cultural proposal. Founded by Giovanna Caruso Fendi in 2022, FOROF implements an unprecedented model of cultural entrepreneurship with the desire to generate a positive and lasting social impact thanks to a program based on the idea of a place of culture and exchange in which past and present come together.

For centuries, Rome has attracted writers, artists and intellectuals from all over the world and can return today to host art projects that rediscover its ancient charm in our present in an inevitable comparison with the history of the city and its historical heritage. artistic. The cultural program that is the basis of the entire project and its identity is based on the idea of making FOROF a place of culture, art and history.

FOROF occupies the spaces of the historic Palazzo del Gallo in Roccagiovine, in front of Trajan's Column at the Imperial Forums, and preserves in the underground rooms, in agreement with the Archaeological Superintendence of Rome, the colored marbles of the flooring of the Basilica Ulpia and the remains of the eastern apse (2nd century AD).

With the aim of sharing art in an innovative way, in a constant dialogue between history, archeology and contemporary art, and giving ample space to the artists' vision, FOROF hosts a program of site-specific exhibitions in dialogue with the archaeological site of Basilica Ulpia. The site-specific exhibitions are activated through a program of monthly appointments - Episodes - offering real participatory experiences of in-depth analysis of the current exhibition.

Giovanna Caruso Fendi

FOROF was born from the need not only to protect, conserve and continue the path of valorization of the artistic and cultural heritage of the place in which it was born, but also from the sense of responsibility to make contemporary art a means of conveying contents that bring to reflect and "open your mind".

I wanted to entrust the creation of the artistic program to a curatorial team of great experience, sensitivity and prestige, following the idea that art can create a connection between the depth of the past and the potential of the present, leading to a greater awareness of our contemporary.

In fact, from the idea that even thought evolves with a spiral movement of ascent and descent, it will be possible to create, through the messages conveyed by contemporary artists, a sort of perennial connection between the descent into history (archaeological site ) and then also of ascent towards the present (street level), like a film (Trajan's Column) almost like a cinematographic direction that continually goes forward and backward, in a continuous individual and social enrichment. I would like FOROF to be a place of improvisation, a container of experiences to live, as if we imagined an engaging and long sunset that from entry to exit... never ends! With FOROF the intent is to embrace the comparison with history and beauty through the language of the artists who will participate in the programming of the space in a completely new and innovative way. A place intended not as a museum, but as a living space, a stage where the role of the spectator merges with that of the performer.

Basilica Ulpia

Archaeological Site

The archaeological site, which can be accessed and visited from the FOROF spaces, constitutes one of the most significant discoveries in recent years in the area of the Forum of Trajan, preserving the largest marble pavement area of the entire Trajan complex. Excavation and recovery operations have been conducted since 2001 and carried out by the Alda Fendi Foundation-Experiments. Thanks to these excavations, in the area corresponding to the central trunk and toward the eastern apse of the Basilica Ulpia, under the current Piazza Foro Traiano and the Roccagiovine palace, it was possible to ascertain the final arrangement of the marble slabs of the Basilica's pavement and the different types of marble used (ancient yellow, pavonazzetto, African green). This was an important and in some ways unexpected find, considering the excellent degree of preservation of the flooring.

The Forum of Trajan and the Basilica Ulpia

The Basilica Ulpia, part of the Forum of Trajan, opened onto its square with three entrances and a façade crowned by an attic decorated with a frieze. The interior was divided longitudinally into five naves and performed commercial and judicial functions. On the shorter sides opened two large apses, into one of which were transferred the functions previously held in the Atrium Libertatis, the seat of the archive of the Censor magistrates and the building where the manumission ceremony was performed, by which slaves obtained their freedom and citizenship, with the attached civil and political rights.

In the late phase of the Roman period we have a series of information indicating the continuity of life of this monument: nineteen laws of the Codex Theodosianus were promulgated in this Forum between 319 and 451 AD. Within the Forum of Trajan, honors were bestowed on the summi viri with the erection of statues, as evidenced by the numerous bases, such as the one found right in the Basilica Ulpia under the Roccagiovine Palace and dated between 440 and 447 CE. This base bears engraved part of an inscription in which Emperor Valentinian III instructs the praefectus urbi to place a gilded bronze statue at that famous site to honor a living personage whose name has not survived Because of its majesty, the Trajan complex remained in existence much longer than the other great imperial complexes and was destroyed by the earthquake of the year 801, traces of which are visible within the excavations accessible by FOROF.

The texture of the flooring of the Basilica Ulpia and the alternation of the types of marble, reconstructed thanks to the work carried out, have made it possible to understand how the area of the exedra must in fact have had a texture of rectangular slabs that delimited a series of squares with alternating circles and smaller squares inserted, exactly as must have been the case in the central trunk of the Basilica. The colonnade area had a regular alternation of rectangular slabs of ancient yellow and pavonazzetto placed asymmetrically between them. On the sides of the columns, on the other hand, a band of African green marble was placed. The column bases were inserted into the geometric layout of the floor. Finally, one of the four large roundels that must have been placed at the apexes of the two outermost aisles was brought to light, perfectly preserved.