Preserving our History

When I visited Italy this past summer, I visited the city of Arezzo. I had read my Michelin guide and found out that there was a Roman amphitheater in the park, so when I arrived I expected to see a smaller version of or something resembling the Coliseum. I was shocked to discover otherwise.

What I found was the dwindled remains of the outer walls. Only a few entranceways were still standing. Only half of the outside wall had survived, and what remained was a wreck. Grasses and weeds had sprung up, and had reached very tall heights. Many stones lay in the rubble of the wall. There was absolutely none of the seats or stage remaining, just part of the outside border and several boulders. There was also a modernized building that had been made in recent years, along with a new stage and many chairs set up on the grassy meadow. If I had not read about it, I would have been clueless to what the ruins were.

These ruins point to a lack of preservation. If the officials had been more careful about maintaining these archeological sites over the ages, there would have been more for future visitors to see. The Coliseum shows that not all Italy experienced such an extreme decay in historical monuments. Although the arena floor is missing, visitors can see the seats, most of the wall, and actually get an extra-special glimpse of what the underground tunnels that the gladiators and animals were kept in before being brought up to fight. In addition, the current Roman or Italian officials have actually rebuilt a part of the ruins of the steps (just a section, only a couple of steps) to let visitors understand how the steps looked like.

The Arezzo amphitheater is an example of how seemingly small mistakes can affect the future. Not preserving it was not something that major, only careless. However, the officials did not have forethought to know that their lack of care would lead to the loss of many facts about how Roman life in Arezzo would have been like. This should serve as a reminder that if we do not manage our monuments and statues carefully, we will deprive future generations of the experience of seeing and discovering ancient cultures and the knowledge of previous societies.





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