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Picturesque: Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Altar of the Fatherland (#4).

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Unlike most other places I’ve been to, no prior research was done before stepping foot in Rome. On Sunday, October 19, I pre-loaded Google Maps into my phone, saw lots of tourist spots pop up in a 5 kilometer squared area, realized that the odds of getting lost of kidnapped was next to nil, and began walking.

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First stop was Colosseum Metro Station, where I saw the most disappointing hour-long line of tourists waiting to get into the Colosseum. 3/4th of the walls were under scaffolds. I concluded that time would be better spent exploring the other attractions, took a MySpace angle of the Colosseum that excluded any scaffolding, and walked to Palatine Hill.

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Palatine Hill was also infested with people like me, stupid tourists. I walked through the Roman Forum and admired all the ruins, making up my own tales of its historical significance. In retrospect, I really should have taken AP European History in high school.

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Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of the city. The engineers and architects of those days are amazing to have been able to construct structures that are still mostly standing. Compare that to the earthquakes of the San Andreas Fault leveling California buildings.

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After I exited from the rear of the Roman Forum, I stumbled upon the most unexpected and pleasant view of the Altar of the Fatherland.

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I walked around, within, and above this altar, not knowing what it was at the time but appreciating its scale and attention to detail.

Nearby were more ruins.

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I made time to stare at the ceiling of the Pantheon.

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And Piazza Navona, which is pretty both during the day and at night.

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And after hours of walking, I was wiped and walked back to the apartment. Old Rome? Check.

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