Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

Again, man-without-camera meets photo-challenge without fear…

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Once upon a time Rome was just a tiny village, and the Romans were a simple folk, holding toga-parties, making sparkling candles and growing pasta. Then a far-sighted village leader called Nero renamed the area Urbi et Orbi, meaning “the city and its satellite towns”, and urban life as we know it began.

The Romans quickly embraced the snobbery involved in living in the biggest place around, referring to those that lived outside the city as Sub-urban. You would think that the out-of-towners would take umbrage at such insults and stay well clear of the place. Far from it, they went right to it. In time all roads led to Rome, or at least to the giant roundabout just outside it (it is where the term “spaghetti junction” comes from).

Tourists (from the Latin (ok, Spanish) word “torreste”, meaning “thick as bull-shit”) turned up in droves during the summer months of Julius, Augustus and Septembus. Although there was only one street, the Appian Way, they would hire a taxi-chariot to drive them its length, so as to hear from the driver how terrible things were, and how it was all the fault of the Goths, Huns and Vandals, coming along and taking all our jobs.

They gaped at the Seven Hills as if they’d never seen scenery before, marvelled at chariot races as if they’d never seen a horse-and-cart before, and gasped at lions as if they’d never, well, ok, that part was fair enough.

They bought overpriced laurel-leaf hats with ” a souvenir of Rome” written upon them, gazed at statues of men with impressive muscles and unimpressive other bits, and actually (and even the Romans couldn’t believe their luck here) threw away their money into a fountain.

The highlight of their trip was when they got to stare in awe at Rome’s only big building, the Coliseum.

Though in fairness, it was in much better condition back then.

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