Trajan’s Column tells the story of war triumphs via an intricate frieze that spirals up the column, running chronologically from base to top. The column was originally topped with a statue of Emperor Trajan, but it was replaced with a sculpture of Saint Peter in the 16th century by Pope Sixtus V. The column contains a staircase leading to a viewing platform, but the stairs are closed to visitors; to see the bas relief carvings up close, visit Rome’s Museum of Roman Civilization, which displays plaster casts of the scenes.
The bas relief scenes on Trajan’s Column are difficult to interpret, so join a tour with a guide who can explain the frieze in detail. Private and small-group walking tours of ancient Rome visit the column, as do tours by bike or Segway. Most ancient Rome tours also include skip-the-line access to the nearby Colosseum and Roman Forum.