At Mercati Traianei an exhibition dedicated to the relationship between city, citizenship and civilization in the Roman world, described through the models of ancient architecture.
The exhibition project documents the purely urban character of classical culture. The sharing of spaces, buildings and laws constitutes civitas, the fulcrum of Roman civilization. The exhibition is therefore a journey through the spaces and buildings of the cities of the Empire, represented in the plaster models of the Museum of Roman Civilization, largely made by Italo Gismondi for the Augustan Exhibition of Romanity in 1937. The models partly depict the factual state of the monuments in the 1930s, in part their reconstructions: to the intrinsic scientific value they also add the value of documentation of transformed or disappeared monuments, especially in the territories where war events occurred.
The exhibition develops seven macro-themes, all represented by the models: public spaces (indicated by holes, curias, capitolas and temples); the water in the decoration of the city (fountains, nymphaeums and spas); the show (theatres and amphitheatres); triumph, honour and passage (triumphal and honorary arches, urban doors); trade (markets); individual, family and state memory (sepulchres and monuments); infrastructures (bridges, aqueducts, cisterns, water distribution castles).
The narration is punctuated by ancient texts pertinent to the individual themes and pronounced by the narrative voices of the authors or their recipients, represented by casts of statues or portraits of the Museum of Roman Civilization: among these, the setting of the spas described by Seneca is particularly lively in a letter to a friend.