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We’ve all heard the popular phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, indeed we may have consolingly muttered it to ourselves when tirelessly trying to construct some supposedly ‘easy assembly’ flat-pack item. But when you visit Rome you truly begin to understand what this phrase means, as the city is scattered with many beautiful ancient monuments that span the eras; each one grander looking than the last. It is a city that is built up of many layers and into which thousands of years of history have gone into making it such a magnificent place to visit.
During ancient times, the capital city began to house many imperial residences – most of which were (and still are) located on Palatine Hill. It is from this specific area that the word ‘palace’ emerges; by way of describing these lavish houses on the Palatine hill side. So, way back at the beginning of Rome’s history it was already setting itself apart from many other parts of Italy; as a regal-looking city with lavish tendencies.
There is more than a whiff of opulence to Rome – try standing in the great grounds of somewhere like the Colosseum and not imagining a majestic scene; like gold-armoured gladiators battling on horseback, being cheered on by a crowd of Roman emperors. In fact, every corner you turn, it seems that Rome has another exciting historical story to tell; it utterly absorbs you in its tales of rich and splendid living.
But perhaps the real jewel in Rome’s crown is Trajan’s Forum, a building that has battled through many historical events and now sits sunken some 15 feet below ground level. The forum was built by Emperor Trajan with his spoils from a successful conquest and over time it has gradually withered and crumbled. However, what really grabs you about Trajan’s Forum is its remarkable ability to look utterly grandiose and completely dominate its space; even though it is severely deteriorated and in some places all that stands is a lone pillar.
Of course, visiting the city via flights to Rome is perhaps not as impressive as arriving in a horse and carriage; but nonetheless upon arrival you should start thinking about how to explore this great city. And it is advisable to go with some kind of itinerary; otherwise you can become overwhelmed by the amount of history jostling for your attention.
Sometimes Rome seems like some kind of ancient jigsaw puzzle, scattered with tiny pieces of history that the tourist could easily spend a whole holiday carefully trying to piece together. And you can have fun just allowing yourself to imagine the battles, love affairs and general day-to-day living that went on in these beautiful buildings and monuments.