The Streets of History - My Family Travels

Thumbs up or thumbs down? I stood inside the Colosseum. It was so great, yet so terrible. It was a house of death where the combatants saw their last moments. As I walked through each portico, I could almost hear the crowds shouting and smell the sweat and the blood coming off the arena. The Colosseum looks a lot like our modern-day sports stadiums with the same seating arrangements and design, but there is a different feeling to the Colosseum, one of connection to a past civilization. It is almost as if you can feel the history about the place.  It holds a certain mystery about it.

Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

When you walk down a street in Italy, history is just piled on top of each other. There will be the Roman Forum right next to a monument built by Mussolini. In front of the Pantheon, there is the Fontana del Pantheon.  This fountain clearly shows the layers of history in this city. On top, there is an obelisk from Ancient Egypt, below it is a Roman inscription, and below that is a fountain built in the Renaissance.  The city is so rich and full of culture.  The history of the whole city seems to swell up and swallow you with interest. One time when we were walking to a restaurant, we passed by an apartment building where our guide said in a throw-away comment, “Oh, that apartment is where Napoleon grew up as a boy.” Everywhere you looked there was some piece of history from a nation that had lived in this city.  Another time, we stepped into a beautiful little basilica by the side of the road. The art and the detail almost overwhelmed you.  The streets were made of cobblestones, probably the same ones from hundreds of years ago.

Even though the rest of the world moves on, Rome is like a time capsule, not that different from 2,000 years ago. There are the narrow streets still lined with apartment buildings and shops selling their wares.  There is no other place on the planet that blends ancient, pre-modern, and modern culture in such a way.

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