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Place: Rome Italy

The Ancient Sites Of Rome
Author: Steven Cronin

For 3,000 years Rome has stood at the forefront of civilisation. The might of the Roman Empire brought great wealth and prosperity to the city and its allies. Rome became a treasure trove of extravagant architecture and monuments.

As fortune smiled down on Rome, their riches established communities endowed with ornamental landmarks, many of which stand to this day.

At the core of the once mighty Empire, The Roman Forum was the heart and soul of government. Originally a cemetery, the Forum grew with the Empire and was the nucleus of everyday life. Aristocracy would socialise and decide the course of history during lavish banquets, drinking their wine and gorging on the luscious food.

At the centre of the Forum is the Temple to Julius Caesar built by Augustus, his adopted son and first Roman Emperor. The fresh flowers signify the exact spot where Caesar was cremated.

The Colosseum is undoubtedly the most recognisable of all ancient Rome's landmarks. Built by Jewish slaves, the amphitheatre was synonymous with blood sports.

Opened by Emperor Titus in 80 AD, the imperial thirst for bloodshed was insatiable. Gladiators became infamous overnight as battles between man and beast caught the imagination of the Roman public.

Hundreds of thousands of men and beasts were slaughtered during the course of these Roman games. The butchery continued mercilessly until these particular blood sports were outlawed in 523 AD.

The communities of the Empire held the Roman gods in high esteem; religion played a significant part in the lives of the Romans and homage was paid frequently to those in higher places.

The Pantheon was built as a temple to the gods. The original was destroyed by fire in the 1st century BC resulting in dismay amongst the communities.

During the early part of the 2nd century AD, Emperor Hadrian took it upon himself to rebuild the monument and provide his people once more with a pathway to the gods. Hadrian was an amateur architect and completed the new temple in 125 AD.

Two mammoth doors, like sentinels standing before the path to the gods guard the entrance to the temple. The doors were extensively restored during the 17th century, raising doubts whether they can ever again be classed as original.

Once inside, the unexpected scale of the interior is awe-inspiring. Marble panels grace the walls and floors; remarkably, half of the wall panels are from the original build nearly 2,000 years ago.

About the author:
Steven Cronin owns the City Breaks website featuring city break special offers from luxury hotels to budget accommodations. For more information please visit http://www.sargas.co.uk