As a person who has just recently arrived back in the United States after a trip abroad to the fantastic, magical ancient city of Rome, this recent article in the New York Times really struck a nerve with me.
“As Rome Modernizes, Its past Quietly Crumbles,” the article boldly pronounces in its title. Excuse me? What now? I was just there, I thought when I first saw this. I never want Rome’s past to quietly crumble. There are still far too many people out there who have yet to make the trek to this place that is unlike any other, still so many people who have yet to be changed by said trip, like I was.
According to the piece, collapses this past spring at ancient sites have caused archaeologists to warn about other “imminent calamities” that threaten Rome’s architectural birthright.
Unfortunately disasters like that— the natural degradation of architecture that has lasted for hundreds of years—seems unavoidable, if we are to keep these structures untouched by modern ways of preservation.
But there’s also the little problem of certain people who feel that Rome would be best served with upgrades, like modern art museums, and spruces to make the city appear more “presentable” for a potential bid as the site for the 2020 Olympics.
It’s all a bit much to comprehend. In my own humble opinion (you know, as a traveler, and not someone who has any more specific ties to Rome than that), Rome is perfect as is—sans modern museums and spruces. I love the fact that there is hardly a subway system in place in Rome for the simple fact that the Romans want to preserve their underground integrity and the “city” that lay beneath the streets. What a novel idea.
All I can say, really, is that if Rome is to advance towards a more modern age, I’m certainly happy that I had a chance to see it in all its current splendor.