29 Jul 2005 - Rome, Italy

Exploring the historic centre can take all day so the next day was spent away from there and in the areas around it and between the centre and the Vatican , which as it is a separate state, is covered in a different blog feature.

The Parthenon is particularly note worthy as it is one of the best preserved ancient Roman buildings, possibly still with the original bronze doors. It also has a huge, perfectly formed dome which is an engineering wonder.

Looking at The Parthenon and walking into it is the closest you can get to glimpsing the past and to feeling the greatness of the imperial era with is huge dimensions. Remember, most of the people outside of Rome 's control a this point were still living in comparatively basic, wooden buildings. To be a visiting puppet ruler in the provinces whose strings are pulled by Rome, it would be impossible not to believe that the Pax Romana is the only way.

I will go to Rome again - I know that. There is still so much I want to see. Most of these lie outside of the centre and in particular to walk along the Via Appia (Appian Way).

This was the most important ancient Roman road connecting Rome to Brindisi , Apulia in southeast Italy . It played a crucial part in Rome's history and many parts of this are still intact; in use; and is lined with monuments.
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Rome - The Pantheon I

Rome - The Pantheon I

Originally built between 27 and 25 BC, its present appearance is due to rebuilding by Hadrian between 118 and 125 AD. After the end of the Western Roman Empire, it was donated to the Eastern Emperor to the Pope who then converted it to a church. Like many ancient building, this conversion saved it from destruction.
Rome - The Pantheon II

Rome - The Pantheon II

The interior is dominated by a gigantic dome, the biggest masonry dome ever built. Perfectly harmonious, the distance from the floor to the summit is the exact diameter, thus creating a perfect sphere inside. Recesses in the walls once contained statues of the gods and goddesses but now reflect more Christian themes.
Rome - The Mausoleum of Hadrian

Rome - The Mausoleum of Hadrian

The tomb built by the Emperor Hadrian saw covered in marble and travertine and covered with earth planted with trees and ringed with statues.

It was converted into a fortress in the Middle Ages and became a strong point of the Vatican's defensive system.
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chrismv - 17 Jun 2010, 13:20:43

Well if you go to Rome again to retrace the Appian Via, I'd suggest you stop by the St Callixtus catacombs just after the Quo Vadis church. You'll come across some pretty impressive catacombs, although it will be surely packed with tourist. And don't miss Ostian Antica, on the outskirts of Rome, where the ancient port was.

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