Do as the Romans do, Rome Part I

The Colosseum. The Roman Forum. Capitoline Hill. The Pantheon. The semesters of latin class I took in high school definitely left a lasting impression on me about the grandour of these places during Ancient Rome. I knew one day that I would want to see Rome in person! History most definitely came to life when I saw all these sites and more this past weekend.

On Friday night, i set out with Amy. It took 4hours, two trains, and then a taxi ride to get to the Best Western Picadilly Hotel in Rome. Thankfully we didn’t need to go through any trouble in finding a hostel because Vincenzo had booked us two rooms as his guests for two nights! Getting something gratis is always great, especially if it’s accommodations at a nice hotel :D. For the first time in Italy, I finally got access to a tv (the dorms don’t have tvs) and that night I watched Jersey Shore, for the first time, on MTV.IT …I actually found it funny at times, but that’s quite off the topic haha.

The next morning we woke up bright and early around 7:30 and I went to eat a big breakfast in the dining room. I was delighted by the scrambled eggs and “bacon” and the buffet in general, I ate until I was stuffed! On our way to the Colosseum, we went into the Sant Giovanni in Laterano church which was a sight to behold.

Sant Giovanni church grandesque interior [pics to come]

Then we continued on by foot to our actual destination: the Colosseo. I first saw it when we were still a few blocks away and I got goosebumps from excitement! It was like I was afflicted by a schoolgirl crush and I was waiting for this moment! We picked up Roma Passes outside and zoomed inside on expedited line while what seemed like hundreds of people waited to buy tickets on the regular line. [[The Pass lasts 3 days and it’s a good option for tourists who plan to go to multiple museums/sites and it gets you in a separate and faster queue for Roma Pass holders at most locations. The first two sites you enter are free, so choose wisely. The rest are discounted, by at least 2euros or around 25%. Public transportation is also included. The pass comes in a neat packet that includes a comprehensive map!]]

Even though time and disasters has stricken its frame, the Colosseum was in great condition due to all the restoration efforts. We walked around the whole perimeter of the two floors and I marveled at how it’s even possible to construct such a massive building. On top of that, the arena floor is mostly gone to reveal the hypogeum (basement) area, revealing all the tunnels and arches where gladiators and animals were held pre-events. In my mind I could imagine how all these seats were filled back then, with senators and plebians alike shouting and cheering for games that were most definitely exciting but brutal (the tamer version now being a packed American football stadium).

Colosseo (wired up!) Colosseo - outside view Colosseo - la cavea the hypogeum [pics to come]

It was extremely hot at that point, but we made our way out of the Colosseum and onto the Foro Romano (Roman Forum) and the Palatino (Palatine Hill) [both share the same entrance, and both are included with the Colosseum as one free entry on the Roma Pass]. I was sad to see that not a lot remains in the Foro Romano and there was a lot of flat lands where it was once a bustling center for politics and commerce. We took a small reprive from the heat in the Tempio di Romolo, then saw the spot where Caesar was publicly burned and subsequently buried. Then we re-routed back to the Palatine area (it would make sense to have gone there first). The Museo Palatino had a number of artifacts from that ancient Rome that I found fun(ny) in the best way! A short walk later we also saw the remnants of the Stadio of Palatine, which looked like it would have been a nice place for the Romans to relax in during their free time.

[pics to come]

Going up some a staircase outside of the Roman Forum exit led us to  Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill). There we entered our second museum from free using the Roma Pass, the Museo Capitolini. I loved the art inside, the museum itself being a piece of art with its magnificent gallery rooms.

Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo the roman legend [pics to come]

Another short walk in the blistering heat took us to the Vittoriano which was very picturesque! If it wasn’t so hot, I would have loved to linger on the steps leading up to the museum.

The Monument of Victor Emmanuel II [pics to come]

Ultimately, the heat and all the walking really got to both of us and with Amy’s suggestion, we went back to the hotel for a little break and headed back out after 8pm. The night was so much nicer and cooler. We took a bus to Piazza Spagna and after being on the deserted streets, it felt exhilarating to see throngs of people out at night at the Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti, in Italian) and it was also packed at the gorgeous Fontana di Trevi nearby! Both were beautifully lit up at night and it felt quite magical to be at Rome at that moment!

the spanish steps Spanish Steps - close up of the crowd fuzzy pic of me at la Fontana della Barcaccia, below the steps

Fontana di Trevi at night close up of the Trevi horse view from the right

[[Read about what I did the next day at Rome Part II!]]

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