The Roman Empire Marvel: Places to Go Back in Time and Enjoy the Beautiful Surroundings 

The Roman empire was a formidable force with a breadth of stories and history that amaze us until today. Nowadays, you can go to many places and find remnants of this empire. But what if you want to have a glimpse of ancient Rome that stood during its last years? 

You can start from Ravenna, which became the center of civilization of the Western world when Empress Placidia arrived in 416. Placidia herself was one of the last important figures in the Roman west, in times of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. 

Guide and cultural heritage specialist Claudia Frassineti said, “Ravenna attracted the best artists and architects from around the empire. It was the new capital city, the focus of wealth and power.”  

Placidia’s half-brother, Emperor Honorius, lived in a magnificent palace overlooking the Adriatic, surrounded by luxury villas for aristocrats, splendid churches and a stadium for horse races. According to Frassineti, the port transformed into a marketplace, its warehouses bursting with goods from the Mediterranean and beyond. 

Those times are long gone, and Ravenna now is often overlooked by travelers entranced by Rome, Venice and Florence. The geography itself has changed over the last 1,500 years. Due to the receding Adriatic coast, many of its magnificent Roman-era structures have vanished and been replaced by modern, modest constructions. 

Behind the modern streets and buildings, however, are ancient grandeur in the forms of art and architecture. You can find Placidia’s stunning mosaic-covered private chapel that has survived all the hardships caused by nature and mankind. It’s one of the most beautiful artistic experiences in all of Italy, and it deserves to be in UNESCO World Heritage site list. 

Other silent witnesses during the fall of Roman west 

Structures from Placidia’s era doesn’t end here; you can find them as far as 200 miles south in Rome. In fact, they’re scattered through the city, in surprising places. For instance, The Anantara Palazzo Naiadi Hotel was built on part of the site of the Baths of Diocletian. 

Baths of Diocletian were a majestic public bath structure with the capacity to hold 3,000 people. These baths thrived in Placidia’s time, and ancient Romans would sit immersed in pools under its cathedral-like domes. 

When the hotel was being built, the mosaics from the baths’ exedra, or changing hall, had been unearthed, and they still exist today in the basement. You may ask the hotel’s guide to show you the remains of the baths, which are protected beneath glass in the floor, including mosaics, lead pipes, a cistern and an octagonal fountain. 

You can also go Circus Maximus and Palatine Hill. The latter is where Placidia grew up. The complex used to be adorned with marble and jewels, but we can only see the shadow of its former self. And unfortunately, some of its corridors are now off limites, due to structural issues. Nonetheless, the edifice would still take our breath away when we step into it. 

Then, you can see the surviving sections of the Aurelian Walls, 12.5-mile ring of stone with 380 watchtowers and 12 gates. These monumental walls were cladded with marble as well, but were stripped to bare brick in the Middle Ages. 

Many parts are still found around the historical center, though. It suggests why the Visigoths decided to starve Romans into submission rather than attack them directly.  


Where you can go if you want to see ancient Rome in other places 

The Roman Empire was so large that you can find its ruins in many places, and some that haven’t been discovered at all to this day.

Italy isn’t the only place if you want to go back in time and let yourself be amazed by the ancient empire’s former glory. And, some of us want to see the ruins of ancient Rome when it was at its peak; not when it was nearing its end. So, here are some other places that you can visit, and some if not all of the destinations allow you to bask in their other beautiful aspects. 




Quite rarely that people associate this country with Roman Empire. The fact is, Germany west of the Rhine was very much Roman territor, and it was one of the most important frontiers that ancient Romehad. 

Now, you can see some grand ruins, especially in the town of Trier near the Luxembourg border. Trier, in western Germany, is home to the largest Roman baths found outside of Rome. 

The city was also one of the flourishing centers of trade, often referred to as “The Second Rome.” Word is, the ruins has the largest single intact chamber which have survived from the Roman period. Well, you have to see it for yourself for this one. 

Of course, the baths are non-functional now, and all dried up. But in the imperial baths of Trier, you’ll be filled with wonder when you enter and imagine yourself as one of the citizens of a bygone era within the complex.  

There’s also the beautiful Basilica of Constantine that you can visit. It’s the largest existing single room from the Roman period and it’s said to have been originally serving as the Roman Emperor’s audience hall. Approximately, the structure was build in the 4th century AD. 

At a later time, invaders in the 5th century devastated the building and incorporated it into a palace. But now, it’s been turned into a church. 

When you go here, look out for the optical illusion created by the window sizes of the Basilica of Constantine, which make it look even bigger than it actually is. 




This country has a unique blend of ruins, since it changed powers and sort of overlap its cultures with the others. For common people, it’s hard to tell where the differences are since the ancient empires have fused together ever since ancient Rome occupied the lands in 146 BC. 

If you want to see where the Romans start to mix their culture with the ancient Greeks, start in Athens. Ask a well-informed guide when you go to sites like the Theatre of Herodes Atticus and the Roman Agora; or you can also go further to places such as Eleusis or Gortyna in Crete. That way, you’ll know where the divergences are. 

Aside from Athens and Crete, you should also pay a visit to Philippi. It’s one of the most well-known and marvelous sites in Greece due to the fact that it’s a silent witness to three civilizations: Macedonian, Greek, and Roman. 




This country is famous for its Roman sites—with good reason. The isles of Britain were an important part of the Empire for hundreds of years and has a number of famous places from the Imperial era.  

You can go to Bath and Hadrian’s Wall, but for a change of pace, consider going to Cantiacorum. It was once the civic center of modern Kent during the Roman era. Well, it wasn’t always Roman, of course.  

Word is, Celtic tribes lived here before Julius Caesar’s invaded the land in 55 BC. It was quickly taken by the Legions and made into a Roman outpost in a hostile land. Traders and nobles and everyone else followed the Legions, and the city continued to grow until the Canterbury we see today. 

There are proofs of the Romans all over the city. For example, The Quenin Gate protects the inner-city. And, you can also find ruins of baths in the basement of Waterstones Bookstore in St Margaret’s Street! 

For a quaint, by-the-countryside Roman site, you should drop by Chedworth, just outside Gloucestershire. It’s a Roman Villa which was part of a network of villas built in the 2nd century (when this part of Britain was Romanized and conquered). 

Sadly, the villa hasn’t fully survived England’s turbulent history. Nonetheless, we can still see some intact parts, along with the shapes and outlines of the villa—all thanks to a gamekeeper that tripped over a piece of mosaic that stuck out of the ground in 1864. 

It’s really a place where you can wander through what could-have-beens, looking at the kitchens and courtyard where the Romans come and go. And, Chedworth itself is pretty; a plus-plus. 



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