Colloseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, Rome 

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These three landmarks that all stand side by side are akin to stepping into a time warp. Rome is entirely unique in that laid bare to the public is its rich, world famous history. Alongside modern roads, cars and shops they allow the city to have a striking contrast to any other city in Europe.

Inside the Colosseum, we spent around 45 minutes wandering around, admiring the vast stone walls and reading the extremely informative signs posted all around, telling tourists about the history of the building itself and the Cesar’s who built it. I actually found myself walking around a little open mouthed, in complete awe of how a building of such magnitude was still standing two millennia after being built. The floor of the auditorium has been eroded, revealing a network of what were underground tunnels where prisoners, slaves and animals were kept. Vast stone archways line the entire building, offering stunning views of the ruins surrounding the Colosseum as well as more modern architecture. Around the hallways are artefacts such as pilasters, column heads and sculptures that have been recovered from the site over the years; for me to see an authentic, vast composite pilaster at eye level made for one of the most iconic Roman buildings of all time was an absolute delight. Although the majority of the building is now brown stone, some old and some new to ensure it stays standing, slivers of its previous white marble interior can be seen still clinging to parts of the walls and some on the ground. Although the thousands of tourists may put some people off, for me it was truly like stepping into a time warp and I felt it really showed the sheer scale and capacity of the building and what it would have been like inside so many years ago.

From the Colosseum we walked across to the Roman Forum – the ancient governmental heart of the city which boasts an extensive collection of existing buildings and ruins from clerical buildings, Basilicas and more. Even the buildings that have crumbled lay scattered around, marble heads or sections of pillars baking in the sun. The size of the remaining buildings was pretty unbelievable, and the whole time I was walking through this millennial old city I was dumbfounded by how any of it was built. Higher up the Forum, on Palatine Hill, the balance began to move less in the favour of stone and more towards trees, flowers and shrubs. From the top of the hill we had incredible views of the city, both old and new.

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