No other sight that I have ever laid eyes upon has moved me more that of the Roman Colosseum. I visited this legendary monument when I was fifteen years old, during a trip to Italy with International Explorers, a travel group consisting mainly of high school students. I remember walking along a shadowy passage and entering through a stone arch into the interior viewing area of the amphitheater. As I looked down at the arena, with all of its hidden chambers and passageways uncovered by centuries of excavation, it dawned on me that I was standing in the same exact spot as the visitors before me who lived almost two thousand years ago.
This was it. Living, breathing people- proud Romans who belonged to the most powerful and culturally sophisticated empire in the history of the world- once gathered here to experience scenes which those of us today can only dream of. I truly felt connected with their culture, their environment. After all, the only thing that separated us was time. With a rush of excitement and wonder, I felt the cheer of these ancient spectators pulsing through my ears, along with the roar of a mighty lion whose opponent’s glistening sword reflected the rays of the sun.
No textbook, painting, or film can ever fully capture the sheer reality of this powerful, majestic experience. Through beholding the Colosseum firsthand, in all of its former glory, I was able to take home a part of ancient Rome with me, and it will forever live on in my memory.
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