Whenever I've been in a classroom listening to a history lesson, I have to admit that it couldn't have been more boring. It all came down to memorizing names, dates and conflicts. But when I'm on the road, exploring a land littered with ruins, history becomes an eye-opening tactile experience. On many of my journeys, I find myself face to face with the remains of the Roman empire, whether it's an ancient stone bridge that I jogged across or an expansive necropolis that's planted with flora that symbolizes life and death, both in Spain's Extremadura region. (I do have a thing for exploring necropoles all over the world.) But, because I like to go beyond the obvious in all my travels, rather than spending any length of time in Rome examining those grand artifacts, I hunted down Roman ruins in other parts of the world.
My recent feature round-up that I wrote for the travel network Boots n'All describes my pick of the top 10 Roman ruins that aren't in Rome. The Roman empire was quite vast, so it's no wonder that you'll find remains of Roman temples, arches, amphitheaters and villas in as far away as Croatia, Libya, and Israel.
But, what's even more fun is visiting many of these sites when they put on an annual cultural, drama or music festival. I was lucky to visit Merida, Spain when they were hosting their annual summer Merida Classical Theater Festival that's held in the impressive Roman amphitheater. The nightly activities can include films, dance performances, comedy and, of course, classic drama. What could be better than sitting under the stars on a pillow atop the ruins of the top tiers of the amphitheater and listen to a tragedy that was written by Euripides. Certainly a fine way of learning about history.