Wednesday Wander – Ancient Rome

I spent most of today wandering around Roman ruins and a museum with a group of children from my daughter’s school. I saw some wonderful mosaics, coffins complete with skeletons, and dozens of finely made Roman artifacts.

So, for my Wednesday Wander this week, I thought I’d take a trip back to where it all began. Where an empire was formed that reached east and west, controlling territory as far away as this misty small island (and possibly further still, if the stories about South American shipwrecks are true).

ancient-rome-2This, my friends, is ancient Rome.

Well, it’s what’s left of it, anyway. I took these shots from a viewing platform overlooking all that is left of that mighty city – the ground level is far lower than that of modern Rome, which is why I appear to be so high above the ruins. I quite like how all the fallen columns seem to have been gathered and placed tidily together – I don’t know whether they’ve been reinstated in the intervening years, but it did seem to me as though work was ongoing at the time.

ancient-rome-1Another thing that struck me, as I looked at these photos, is how much digital photography, particularly on our phones, has changed the way we record things. I took these photos with a regular old film camera, back in the days when you had to drop the film off and wait to see if any of the shots were good. Film wasn’t cheap and I was travelling on a budget, hence why I have only three shots of the city, rather than the eight thousand or so I’d probably take today.

ancient-rome-3I remember Rome as a city of contrasts – full of great beauty and history, yet crowded and dirty. I also visited ancient catacombs along the Appian Way – went underground and saw ancient tombs and painted shrines, roped off areas leading who knows where. I have no photographs of this at all.

I think I might need to go back to Rome…

Thanks for joining me on another Wednesday Wander – see you next time!


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Wednesday Wander – The Coliseum, Rome

Coliseum 3 Arguably one of the world’s most recognisable structures, and one upon which modern stadiums are based, this is The Coliseum, in Rome. The scale of the building is quite extraordinary, considering it was built two millennia ago, as is the fact it is still standing after all this time. Much of the damage is due to man, rather than time, the Coliseum being used as a source for building materials once it had fallen out of use.

Coliseum 2I visited Rome over twenty years ago now, just a blink of an eye in the life of this building. From outside you can see the different arched levels, as well as get an idea of the scale – it’s not hard to imagine how it would have been in its heyday, when gladiators battled and lives were lost on the turn of an emperor’s thumb.

Coliseum 1

This is a shot across what would have been the floor of the arena. The wooden floor is now long gone, and the walls are the remains of the rooms where gladiators, animals and prisoners would have waited, before being sent out to the mercy of the crowds. In the top right hand corner of the photograph, a cross is just visible – this is a memorial to the Christians martyred in the arena. When we were there, a small crowd of people gathered in front of this cross and started to sing. Everyone else fell silent, listening as the ancient stones echoed with a lament for the dead, the acoustics carrying it up and out of the arena. It was a beautiful moment in a remarkable place.

Thank you for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!