Thursday, January 17, 2013

Haunted Travels: Residual Rome (Part I)

The 'Eternal City' of Rome, Italy is famous for not only such ancient landmarks as the Colloseum, but their attendant spirits as well.
It has been said that this blood-soaked arena is stained with the anguish of the many who died here over the years. Witnesses have returned with stories of having glimpsed ghostly gladiators or of having heard the spectral sounds of battles from long ago. Even Caesar has been spotted now and then.

Rome's famous Pantheon--once a pagan temple to all (pan) gods (theós)--was originally constructed by the emperor Hadrian in 120 CE on the site of an earlier temple dating back to 27 CE.  Many have called this the most influential building in architectural history since its unique dome inspired that of the Duomo in Florence, which effectively kicked off the Rennaissance and the dome of St. Peter's Basilica--even the dome on the US capitol building. The columns outside are 40 feet high and each is made of a single piece of stone. They were taken from an Egyptian temple.
The reason this building isn't another Roman ruin is because early in the Middle Ages the pagan temple was converted into a Christian church, thus sparing its demise for future enjoyement and edification.
It is said the famed Italian king Umberto I (who is buried at the Pantheon) has been spotted on occassion. A well-known account is even from a police officer in 1930 who was approached by Umberto's phantom and delivered a message of political significance. The police officer, however, never revealed the content of the late king's message.

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