“All roads lead to Rome” said a Roman once, and this has been repeated a million times since. This would be the final leg of our Italian tour so maybe the saying was right after all.
We had three days to explore the 28th most visited city in the world (according to Paolo), which seems ridiculously low if you ask me. We knew three days wouldn’t be enough time to explore a city that had been the capital of the world for hundreds of years, and which is so steeped in history and culture that it makes your brain hurt. We know we will return to Rome, so there may be another blog post in the future, when we will explore Rome again and it'll have a catchy title, such as “Roma II.”
Don't get me wrong, we certainly didn't take it for granted and straight after the holiday I went to London, where I did not see anywhere near the same level of beauty, even from high up on the London Eye. Rome was just spectacular.
On day one we went to a 2000 year old stadium called the Colloseo, or in English, the Coliseum. It was fascinating. We paid extra to have a tour by an Italian lady who was enthusiastic and descriptive and appeared especially cheerful when talking about bloody battles and executions, carried out by starved animals tearing off people's flesh. Sand was placed on the battleground to soak up the blood and because it was easily replaced once it had reached blood saturation levels. For this reason the battleground was called the Arena, which means sand in Latin.
Secret doors using pulleys and ramps shielded the audience from seeing the animals and gladiators that ascended from below, surprising and delighting the spectators. Gladiators would only fight two or three times a year so they had ample time to heal. The games were free to watch and the seating was allocated by class, with the Senate in the closest seats (ring side) and the women and povvos in the highest seats. The senators had their names engraved into the chairs and over time, as senators died, their names were crossed out and a new name was written.
The Coliseum truly was a phenomenal place to see, both at day and night. I really want to see a UFC event held there. The new gladitorial battles take place mostly in Vegas but what better venue is there than this one?! Make it happen Dana White.
That night we went to an area of town that I decided to refer to as Transvestite, because the real name (Trastevere) just would not stick. As we had experienced in Florence, night time makes this city glow with intrigue. Beauty wasn’t hard to come by on the streets of Roma.
The second day started with a slight delay due to our Chinese neighbours utilising the shower as a washing machine. The place we were staying had a shared bathroom between two bedrooms, which was a bit annoying. But the apartment was in the centre of town, near Pyramide Metro, so we were happy enough.
Our Colliseo ticket could also be used to visit the birthplace of Rome (Pallatine) and the Roman Forum, so this is what we did. The Pallatine had a series of aqueducts and the earliest finds dated back to 800 BC. We also found the house of Augustus, which had paintings that had stood there for millennia. It was an impressive sight and the detail was still there in places, which the photos don’t show.
The Forum was outrageous. Buildings still stood that had existed over 2000 years ago. There's a bronze door that still has a working lock – 2000 years of opening hasn’t broken it. It was sublime... bar the fluff that scratched my eye, which I barely made a fuss about...
Now the next building I'll mention was probably the grandest of them all. We saw it first at night and it figuratively blew our socks off. It was a towering structure of stone with dozens of statues and it radiated beauty like no other building I have ever seen has. It was built in 1925 and is called Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland). We loved it.
The next major tourist stop was the La Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Truth, made famous in the film Roman Holiday. This two thousand year old statue didn’t bite off any liars' hands when we were there though. I went for a slightly different take on the traditional photo as I am so wacky!
We wondered the down the beautiful Spanish steps and went into several churches. We saw more palaces and carried on walking until our feet were pleading with us to stop and my camera's SD card was no longer hungry.
As well as buildings, there are a plethora of fountains that are easy on the eye too. This is where I take over, but just briefly so don't worry! I just want to tell you about one fountain which is probably the most famous - Fontana di Trevi. It was built in 1762 and is absolutely beautiful. It has featured in quite a few films, including The Lizzy McGuire Movie! Understandably, it's a huge tourist attraction and so it took a bit of time to get a good view but once we did, it was definitely worth it. It's truly beautiful and so incredibly intricate and outrageously elaborate. These Italians definitely know how to do art and architecture and whatnot, that's for sure.
We also visited the Pantheon, which was brill. How could have been constructed over 2000 years ago?! It blows my mind. We ate a fly riddled pizza outside while staring at the, frankly beautiful, building. Another great day!
Unfortunately we had to leave Rome all too soon, but our Ryanair flight afforded us some lovely views of the mountain ranges as we flew home. Until next time - ciao bellas!
|The famous Colloseo!
|The Roman Forum
|Door with a dead old lock!
|Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) by day...
|...and by night!
|Outside the Pantheon...
|...and inside the Pantheon
|A fly baked onto a pizza, yum!
|Fontana di Trevi - this photo really doesn't do it justice. It's HUGE!
|Miscellaneous snaps of ruins we stumbled across at various points...
|And finally the view from the plane. Bye Italy!