The walls of the Colosseum rose up around me. Even though parts of the ancient building had crumbled away over the centuries it was still imposing. I had arrived early to avoid the crowds.
For a place that had seen so much violence it was strangely peaceful. I was grateful for the quiet. It gave me the chance to inhale the atmosphere, to appreciate not only the physical enormity of the place, but also the immense significance of its past.
When I closed my eyes I could almost imagine the roar of the crowds and sense the expectation in the atmosphere. Millions of people had stood in this spot before me. It was a strangely humbling thought.
Just being there I felt that I had become part of its history.
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Tour buses circle the city, delivering tourists from sight to sight, or the metro whizzes unseen beneath the pavements.
But if you have time then exploring by foot is the best way to discover Rome.
It is not the easiest city to navigate, the maze of streets can be baffling and plenty of times I found myself joining other visitors around a map trying to find not only where we were going, but where we were but the rewards more than make up for the aching feet.
For centuries Rome has been known as the Eternal City. Until I had been there I did not understand why. But now I think I know. Rome will enchant the world forever.