Cross-section of an insulae (the Latin word for island). Concrete and brick building with wooden roofs. Built around small courtyards with shops and taverns on the ground floor and living quarters above.
Roman engineering - the roads. The Romans built the finest roads in antiquity. A deep trench was dug, into which was laid a layer of flat stones; next, stones in mortar, topped by concrete or sand or more stones. Finally, cobbles were set in mortar. The edges, unpaved on both sides, functioned as sidewalks.
The Western Roman Empire may have fallen more than 1,500 years ago, but its rich legacy of innovation and invention can still be seen today. The Romans were prodigious builders and expert civil engineers, and their thriving civilization produced advances in technology, culture and architecture that remained unequaled for centuries.