Rome is really old and Lizzie McGuire went there. Like any true 90s kid, I imagine Rome to be as this movie depicts it: full of pasta, the Trevi Fountain, sights to see, and of course some adventure- truly a place that dreams are made of.
However, upon some research, Rome’s history doesn’t fit with my modern fantasy. If I am truly to do as the Romans do, it looks like I’ll be washing my clothes in urine and going to watch prisoners fight to death for entertainment. Regardless of my judgement of the Empire upon which Western civilization is built (which I hope to be more informed as a result of my time there), I want to truly learn about the city as it is today. How do the people view its history? Besides being the capital of the fallen Roman Empire, what makes Rome, well Rome?
So my question is what is the live city inside the ancient shell? The history of Rome can be studied in books and a classroom, and its ruins observed in photos. However, to know the present story of Rome, the live heart beating in its ancient streets, we need to experience it. I believe we can address this question by interactions with the local people in the city itself. Instead of viewing the bus drivers, cashiers, and faces on the streets as merely background extras in a movie starring the Coliseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum, a shift in thinking could cause us to really see the city as it was and is today. Perhaps, we should think of this city as a family living in a really old house. The old house is of great interest, but the real history and future of the family is in its people. Maybe if we begin to view Rome as a real living city, it will show us what dreams are really made of.