I’ve never been to Rome. I’ve only been to Niagara Falls, and I don’t even remember going to the Canadian side. This is a fiction piece, but the thoughts on Rome are my own. I’ve always had a huge interest in going back. I’m Italian and I’d love to go to the country my dad’s side of the family comes from.
I’m sure I’ll get there one day, and I know when I do, I’ll be blown away by everything to the point where I’ll contemplate whether or not its real. I cannot wait for that day. If you’re a seasoned traveler, or–even better–you live in Italy, please tell me what the ruins are like and how people see them.
I traveled to Rome to see the ruins. The thought of experiencing the past first hand was something I always dreamed of accomplishing in my life. Anyone who knows me knows it’s been at the top of my bucket list. I always did great on my papers on the ancient world. There was always a desire to connect with the past. If I could see the ruins, walk through the passages in the Colosseum, smell the musty air, and glide my fingers across the ancient half buried in the ground, I could understand what it must have been like to live in Rome and make it feel as if it wasn’t all that long ago.
However, when I arrived, and all the ruins were scattered around Rome–as advertised–I understood why the ruins were called ruins. Everything I pictured the ancient city to be was ruined by time. Yes, what was left has been preserved beautifully, but only to a certain degree. One has to lower his/her standards to appreciate the beauty. The forum will never be what it was. The past will never stand alone from the present; the past has to make way for the present. However, the present isn’t entirely off the hook.
The present has to look back to the past and see what worked and, more importantly, what didn’t. We have an obligation to learn from our mistakes. The ruins that lasted are obvious signs of a former greatness, but what does it matter if we’re not going to try to be better? We can’t look and hope for the past if we’re not ready to accept the mistakes from the past. We have to be aware of all sides, and what the past means to everyone. Maybe Rome was too big for its own good. Maybe there’s a limit to empathy. Whatever the case may be, we’re still learning. We’re still finding more and more surprises. Some answers are lost for good, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what we have.
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