On the morning of our last day in Rome, we walked around the ancient part of the city. It’s a bit mind-blowing to think about walking the same streets and seeing the same sights as a society living 2,000 years ago. Roman architectural and construction methods were so advanced that some of the techniques lost during the Middle Ages, such as insulated glazing (double-pane windows), weren’t rediscovered until the 20th century.
The columns of the Temple of Saturn (between 497-42 B.C.), the Arch of Septimius Severus (203 A.D.) and the Santi Luca e Martina church (625 A.D.) are some of the most famous sights of the ruins of the Roman Forum. For centuries, the Forum was the center of Rome. Today, major excavations and restoration projects are ongoing as the history of the once-great marketplace continues to reveal itself.
The extravagant Altare della Patria is a relatively new monument, built between 1885 and 1911 to honor King Victor Emmanuel. It was controversial at the time of construction as it utilizes every architectural cliche of Roman construction aesthetics and was considered by many to be over the top. It also razed a Medieval-era neighborhood to clear a site directly at the fringe of the Roman Forum ruins.
A statue of Caesar stands along the ruins of the Trajan Forum. The dome of Santa Maria di Loreto, a 16th-century Catholic church, stands in the background.
Small brass plates have replaced 100 of the millions of cobblestones in the streets of Rome. They’re part of a project by German artist Gunter Demnig to commemorate victims of the Holocaust. These two plaques were in front of the home where Alfredo Di Nola and Livia Seta lived when they were taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Demnig has set more than 48,000 plaques in 18 European countries, making it the world’s largest memorial.
More Photo of the Day posts from our January-March 2016 trip to Europe