"Let Rome in Tiber melt..."
Rome did melt into the Tiber. The place was invaded by barbarians...the population sank from over a million to under 100,000. And when the city was "rediscovered" by tourists with a sense of history in the 17th century...there were goats grazing amid the ruins of the ancient city.
There are people who believe that power, progress, and wealth are always on a rising slope. Let them come to Rome!
Roman property was a sell for a period of probably a thousand years...from the peak of Roman power, around 100 AD, down to its nadir, sometime after the Renaissance.
We have come to Rome on your behalf, dear reader. We poke through its dusty ruins looking for the future. There are more ruins to come, we think...
(Oh, the labors we undertake for your sake, dear reader. Last night, trying to get in the spirit of the place, we drank nearly a whole bottle of wine from Abruzzo. Today, we will go with a Tuscan variety...)
"I love coming to Rome," said Elizabeth. "Everywhere you go, there's something to see. Right around the corner is the church of St. Agnes. You know, they martyred her because she refused to marry one of the Roman aristocracy...who was pagan. The church is built on the site, it is said, where she was exposed. They stripped her naked and chained her on the spot. It was supposed to be a humiliating way to kill her, I guess. But her hair hung down and preserved her modesty. At least, that is what it says in the Christian legends. And so they tried to burn her...but the fire wouldn't touch her. In any event, she died...and the street here, St. Agnes 'Agone,' records the place and the pain of it.
"I've booked a tour of the Vatican...and then a tour of the Vatican's art collection. There's a group of Americans who organize these things...it looks like a very good service."
"How long are these tours?" we wanted to know.
"Well, each one is about 4 hours. But don't worry. I know what a Philistine you are...I only booked it for myself."
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Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.