A Celebration of Rome's Forum Boarium
Beginning in 2016, WMF collaborated with the Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Roma to complete a study and carry out the complete restoration of the Arch of Janus. WMF’s longstanding engagement with the Forum Boarium began when the temples of Hercules and Portunus in the Forum Boarium in Rome were placed on the World Monuments Watch List respectively in 1996 and in 2006. The subsequent conservation works at the sites, directed by the Soprintendenza, were supported by WMF. The Arch of Janus—the only surviving quadrifrons arch in Rome—is the last monument of the Forum Boarium to be restored.
WMF Program Specialist, Alessandra Peruzzetto, describes a public engagement event (Watch Day) recently celebrated at the site. Watch Day is a series of celebratory events organized by local communities at World Monuments Watch sites, supported wholly or in part by WMF.
Watch Day at the Arch of Janus was a special occasion to celebrate the completed restorations of the Temples of Hercules and Portunus and bring the Arch of Janus to greater public attention. WMF was pleased to have the opportunity to thank American Express for its support of the work at the Arch of Janus. Work at the other temples had been supported by American Express, the Selz Foundation and the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage.
Watch Day began on the morning of May 26, with activities for schoolchildren and the general public. Schoolchildren, dressed in ancient Roman garb visited the temples of Hercules and Portunus and learned about the history and everyday life at the Forum. Participants from the general public were invited to accompany the conservators on the scaffolding surrounding the Arch of Janus, for a close view of the restoration work being carried out by the Soprintendenza. In the late afternoon, as the sun was setting over Rome, a harp and violin concert entertained a crowd of residents and visitors to the city.
In the evening, over 300 invited guests attended a special screening of a film documenting the conservation project. A concert of the Radix Harmonics choir concluded the day. The Temples of Portunus and Hercules and the Arch of Janus were illuminated at night in celebration of the occasion and the lights of the recently restored palace of the Fondazione Alda Fendi Esperimenti, adjacent to the arch, were left on, creating a magical and inspiring atmosphere.