Arch of Trajan

Ancona, Marche, Italy

1998 World Monuments Watch

In an unlikely setting of towering loading-dock cranes, piles of coal, and railroad tracks stands the Arch of Trajan, one of the most intact ancient Roman commemorative monuments. Its builder, Apollodorus of Damascus, the architect for Trajan's markets and column in Rome, set his creation on a podium (altered by an imposing staircase in the 18th century) near the Adriatic shoreline. The Corinthian-columned monument, with its many cornices, inscriptions, and statues of Neptune and others was commissioned by Emperor Trajan to symbolize the securing of the port for sailors. Today a coal distribution plant occupies much of that port area and the resulting corrosive dust, along with wind-borne salt, auto exhaust, and train vibrations have had their effects on the arch. However, much of the adjacent, blighting industry will be relocating and the railroad tracks dismantled. This is the right moment to proceed with proper restoration – including documentation, cleaning, consolidation, and environmental monitoring – that would enable the arch to reemerge in a new, improved context.

Since the Watch

Following Watch listing in 1998, city and port authorities of Ancona drafted a new master plan for the port, at the heart of which stands the arch. The monument was restored by the archaeological authority of the Marche region in 2002. The marble surface was carefully studied and monitored, and after cleaning, was treated to protect against future degradation from atmospheric pollution. A new lighting system was also installed around the monument. January 2011

Last updated: June 2018.

Join us in safeguarding significant places.