Well, I’ve officially reached the 1/3 point of my trip. Only 120 days to go now! That seems impossible to believe, I’ve seen so much, and still have so much more to do and see! I commented to a friend today that “I’m in love with every new day.” I know that sounds so corny, but it’s really quite true! I was walking down the stairs of where I’m staying in Rome and thinking how excited I was to get out there and see what all the fuss is about… ( ha ha) Rome is everything I thought it would be, and I’ve barely scratched the surface!
I got in from Naples at 10:30 and was able to check into my room early. The hotel is just a few blocks away from the train station, which I like (out of laziness) but it’s also the main bus area, so it’s a good starting off point to explore the city.
So I started with the Coliseum since it’s about a 20 minute walk from my hotel. That’s also where I was supposed to pick up the Rome Archaeology card that I ordered online. It gets you into 9 of Rome’s major archaeology sites, the Coliseum being one of them! The Colosseum was pretty cool. It was such a hot day though, and the people! Oh so many people…. I’m starting to tire of the people… but I digress.
This place has such great history. It is a true gladiator ring. In it’s heyday they could cram over 60,000 people in here! Can you imagine the noise of that may Italians in one place? OK, here are the quick and dirty facts. Emperor Nero had an artificial lake and garden on the site where the Coliseum now stands. After he died ( at the tender age of 32) Vespasian started construction of the gladiator ring. He wanted this place to be for all the Romans so the expression he used was “Bread and drama for the people” and the poor were actually given bread and water (that must have been what kept them coming back again and again!) The slaves would be pitted against starving animals ad if they survived, maybe they’d be lucky enough to go to gladiator school. Just rent the movie. Russel Crowe and learning. Good combination!
The middle part used to be covered in wood, then sand when it was the gladiator ring. What you can see now is the holding pens for the animals and passages for the slaves to get into the ring.
Mosaic floor from the era.
View from outside.
The archaeology site across from the Colosseum. They have a big Nero exhibit up right now. It’s a large site, and this is where you’ll find Europe’s first botanical garden called Palatine Hill. This was “the place” to live in Rome back in the day, and is considered the cradle of civilization.
Don’t mind the Gilligan hat… I’ve completely given up style for comfort.
Just WHAT kind of exercise did the men do back then to get these bodies? Oh, probably a lot of running around the track, trying not to get killed by the ravenous lion…and heavy lifting… I bet the slaves posed for a lot of these and then rich people tried to make people believe it was them. Ancient body doubles!
This tile work was amazing! It’s all inlay. This would be hard to make today with the tools we have let alone back then.
Rome may not have been built in a day, but their bus system feels like it was. It took me and hour to get from The Coliseum to The Vatican. Not the actual ride, just the wait… I’ve grown accustomed to such great transit systems, how can Rome be any different? Plus, on some buses you can buy your ticket, and on others you can’t. Make up your mind! Can you, or can’t you buy your tickets on the bus? I guess on the bright side I got a free ride tonight! Oh, and their street signs. Those were built in a day and then never thought of again. Most of them are so faded that you can barely see them, and you can consider yourself lucky if they’re even there. It’s very frustrating trying to find your way around without proper transportation and signage! Rant over!
You all may recognize this image from The Sistine Chapel. Photos are not allowed in the actual chapel. I spent a good 15 minutes just sitting and studying every inch of the ceiling. I’ll probably have a neck ache by tomorrow!
The Vatican Museum.
This one caught my eye…
Be still my beating heart!
This is a tiny mosaic. Approx. 2×2 inches.
This is a larger one of Jesus.