Coming from the young country of Canada, at least as an officially established country, I really appreciate old cities. Japan has old cities, but except for temples, shrines and the odd castle, there’s no indication of antiquity as in European cities. I love the fact that there are buildings still being used that are far older than any established city in North America. I felt that sense of history in Prague and Budapest and London, and especially in Istanbul. Now, in Rome. I find it absolutely fascinating to think about who, over the centuries, has walked the same roads and been in the same buildings.
The list of ancient structures of Rome is a long one. The important Via Appia Antica has had people entering and exiting Rome over the same cobbles and flagstones as far back as 312 BC. The earliest buildings in the Forum date back to the 7th century BC. Nearby, the Colosseum dates back to 70-80 AD. The baths of Caracalla (named after the Emperor of the same name) were completed sometime around 216-217 AD. The Pantheon, the oldest church in Christendom, began life as a temple to all gods (the meaning of “pantheon”) in 126 AD. The list could certainly go on but the point is that in very few places that I’ve been to, is the past so evident in the daily lives of those living in the present.