Dear Blog Readers –
Here is a quick visual blog post on a story I did the other night on a new system of LED lights in the Forum. AP Television got invited on an advance tour on Tuesday night by the Ministry of Culture to see the new lighting. It was spectacular. I brought my daughter Chiara along and together with cameraman Gigi Navarra and news assistant Sarah Chiarello we tramped our way up to the top of the Palatine Hill – once the home of Roman Emperors– past the rose garden to the lookout point over the Roman Forum. Then at 7:28pm they turned on the 450 new lights.
It was magical. The lights run from the Arch of Titus at one end down the Via Sacra to the Arch of Septimius Severus at the other end.
For those of you not familiar with the Roman Forum, it was the center of the Roman Empire. The Via Sacra runs down the center and on one side was the Roman Senate and on the other the home of the Vestal Virgins who kept a flame constantly burning in their temple
When the lights came on we could see the statues of the Vestal Virgins lining their courtyard.
There are 450 lights in total of different shapes and sizes. Long, skinny stick-like lights, small round lights on the ground, and rows of softball-size lights. They range in color from a white-gold light effect to a soft white light on the monuments.
After getting the top-shot of the lights going on, we made our way back down the Palatine Hill, stopping to film the lit-up Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. The construction of this temple began under the Emperor Maxentius who was defeated by Constantine in the dramatic Battle of the Milvian Bridge (not far from where I live) and was completed by Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor.
At one end of the Forum the lights shine on the Arch of Titus celebrating his military victories in the Middle East. The frieze inside the Arch shows the Romans in the sack of Jerusalem carrying off the Menorah from the Temple.
One of the most beautifully lit monuments in the Forum is the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. The Roman Temple has 10 Corinthian columns on the outside but within the ancient temple there is a baroque church called San Lorenzo in Miranda.
Behind the Basiclia Aemilia on can see a frieze depicting the ancient saga of the rape of the Sabine women by the Roman men.
A team of architects, lighting experts and technicians worked a total of 3800 hours to install 6,000 meters of cables. Using Led, energy saving technology, they placed lights from 7-80 watts throughout the Forum.
Officials told us that they have tried many times to find a way to light up the Roman Forum at night but the cost was prohibitive and earlier attempts all failed. They are now hoping the low-consuming Led lights will allow this attempt to succeed.
Starting on April 22nd visitors can take tours through the Roman Forum at night from 8pm until midnight. A maximum of 75 people can participate in a tour group and tours will be in Italian and English.
Trisha is a TV journalist working for AP TV News in Rome. She is married to an Italian and is a Mamma of three.