Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Weekend in Rome - Day #2

Today was a fine day weather-wise and we decided to check out the main ancient Roman sites at the Colosseum and the Forum. Our feet were tired from yesterday, but there is so much to see in Rome that we didn't mind.

First stop of the day was to the Collosseum - an almost 2,000 year old monument to the skills of the ancient Romans that mesmerized us both. As I walked up Via Dei Fori Imperiali I wondered what the Gladiators and other "those who are about to die" folks must have thought of it. It must have been terrifying. After yesterday's experience with the "Skip the line" touts we opted to join the queue and wait our turn. The queue did not seem very long, but it took 30 minutes to get to the top. It was €12 each with no audio guides available.

Even though the inside is a ruin, it is magnificent to behold. I enjoyed every second looking around the different levels and viewing the exhibits on the upper level. The place is steeped in history, some of it of the most savage kind. It was capable of seating over 50,000 spectators and it must have been a great atmosphere when lions were tearing the condemned apart or when the gladiators stuck swords and spears into one another.

After the Colosseum we visited the Roman Forum. This is less spectacular as it is basically pile of rubble with a few standing columns to keep some interest. We walked about and wondered what it must have been like in the days of toga wearing Roman Senators when they held court here. I'd liked to have spent a bit more time here, but we decided to head off for some lunch. 

The Victor Emmanuel monument is a spectacularly lavish memorial to the first king of Italy. It is so big you can see it from many streets around this part of Rome. It took over 50 years to complete. I first thought of how pompous it was to have built this for a king, but it is also in honour of the young unified Kingdom of Italy. You can go right to the top (final elevator costs €7 but is worth it) and get brilliant views all over Rome.

After this we made for the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain - two of Rome's most famous locations. At the Steps there was a huge crowd just chilling in the afternoon sun. There's not really that much to see except a lot of steps. We climbed them all and had a welcome beer at the top. The Trevi Fountain is much more interesting, and a lot more crowded. Despite being difficult to get past the crowds, we managed to get to the edge for some photo opportunities. This place must be mad in the summer?

In the evening us two exhausted tourists with sore feet relaxed at the Ristorante "LA TAVERNETTA" di Pepi Claudio where I had a most delicious pasta in a very friendly and pleasant atmosphere. The staff could not have been nicer to us - highly recommended.

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