On my first day sightseeing in Rome it’s not surprising that the Flavian Amphitheatre, nicknamed the Colosseum (Coliseum), was in the top five must sees as soon as possible. Once I was able to find the bus stop the getting to the Colosseum wasn’t that difficult.
Standing in the shadow made by the 48 meter stone architectural wonder built in 80 AD, my first thought was it looks so much bigger in books. Which I think speaks loudly to the power of photography.
Once inside the history of the place hit me. Seeing the arena where many people lost their lives for entertainment purposes made my heart hurt. When I got to the top story and finally realized just how tall the Colosseum was, big enough to hold more than 50,000 spectators, my stomach got a little queasy.
I guess the vendors outside got to most of the tourists before they came inside because the amount of selfie sticks I had to dodge and maneuver around was crazy. I refuse to give into the selfie stick phase. I think they look silly, and extremely easy for pickpockets to grab and run away with while you’re fixing your hair. I figure I’ll just crop the arm fat off my selfies and save some money and my pride. Or I will depend on others, who like me are selfie stickless, to take photos of each other.So far it has worked. I guess I look pretty safe because I was asked to take over 20 people’s pictures.
After I circled around the Colosseum a couple of times I crossed the street right by the Arch of Titus and right down the street from the Arch of Constantine.
This is where Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum are. Now both of these were on my itinerary with a combined time of an hour to see both. I walked around there for three hours, not even the rain could make me leave.
The Roman Forum was the political, commercial, and religious center of Roman life but today all that remains are ruins.
Walking through the ruins is like playing hopscotch because you hop from stone to stone.
But if you miss the stone you don’t start all over you twist your ankle, which is like signing a death sentence in Rome, a town where you walk everywhere.
Many of the ruins I could distinguish their previous forms, like stores and houses.
Other times I wasn’t sure if I was in Roman ruins or out on one of our family outings to a building construction store because rocks and bricks were just scattered along the ground.
I would have overlooked the mound of dirt if it hadn’t been marked as Caesar’s grave.
The Temple of Vestal Virgin was easier to pinpoint.
Palatine Hill was easier to imagine. Many of the remains, though inadequate impressions of their former grandeur, can still be seen, all you have to do is fill in some blanks and cover the finished product with marble.
Walk through Europe’s first botanical gardens and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of Rome from all sides of the hill.
Instead of following my itinerary I spent the rest of the day wandering around.
I saw the wedding cake of Rome, Victor Emmanuel Monument. The bombastic huge white mass was built to honor the nation’s first king, it also shelters the eternal flame at the tomb of Italy’s Unknown Soldiers killed in World War I.
Right across the street was the Trajan’s Column. Constructed to commemorate Roman emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian Wars. It’s spiral bas relief depicted the epic wars between the Romans and Dacians beautifully.
I’ve been on my feet since 8 a.m. this morning and seen so much. The Russian proverb, “Better to have seen it once then read about it a thousand times” was correct. Though I do have to say books have less crowds and don’t make my feet hurt.