Blog 002: 171011 Italy day four

Coliseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon and plenty of wine!

As yesterday, a late start for us, so much so that the cleaner and front desk both contacted us to check if we were alright and needed our room cleaned.

Having read about the lengthy queues for the coliseum, we went the recommended route of purchasing tickets at the palotine gate. There was no queue and the ticket offers one time access to each of the palotine hill, the forum and the coliseum which can be spread over two days, there are discounts for 18-25 year olds.

The first view you get of the coliseum, although half destroyed and partly restored dramatically portrays a picture of the power of the Roman empire and instills the never ending image of Rome in your minds.

Although it is definitely busy, the crowds are nothing when compared to those of the Vatican. There is ample space surrounding the coliseum to grab many photos and sufficient space to meander around hundreds of street sellers and more tour guides!

Since we had already purchased our tickets the queue was quite short to get through security and without much waiting we were able to enter the coliseum.

Not the easiest area to navigate, signs seem to conflict with each other and the only access upstairs seems to be signposted with “no entry, fire exit” signs. But once you find your way out to the arena the sight is superb. Rising all around you the collosal walls that would once have sat up to 50,000 spectators and a reconstructed portion of the arena floor are stunning. Even more so when you remember this structure was built 2000 years ago with no heavy machinery, although thousands of slaves.

We downloaded Rick Steve’s audio guide of the Colosseum and it was a really handy way to learn about the history, usage and structure of the whole area since there is very little in the way of signage. (Italy must sort this out). Although it may seem obvious the Colosseum is one of the best things to see and do in Rome.

A visit from a feline friend and hundreds of photos left we left awe inspired and wanting more ancient Roman relics.

The “Roman Forum” as impressive as the Colosseum is an area once used by the ancient Romans and includes the remains of many temples, market places and homes. The effect is impressive and we were guided around once more by Rick Steve’s audio guide.

The most impressive ruin is that of the Basilica, formerly a large administrative building with large barrel vault niches remaining from what would have once been a collosal structure. All European churches (where the word ‘basilica’ stems from) are built with the same basic layout.

Capturing the dramatic scale of the Pantheon on camera is almost impossible. It’s gigantic beautiful and perfectly shaped some tower above and the shaft of light that shines down through the open ceiling is quite impressive. Entry is free, there is no queue and you can spend ages staring up at the sight. Well worth a visit for anyone.

Wondering the streets of Rome near the Piazza Navona once more down to the Campo Fiori we drank some more wine and soaked up the atmosphere before unsung a relatively cheap pizzeria to replenish ourselves from a long day of walking.

Rome is beautiful at all times of day and offers many opportunities to explore and find a place to have a quick drink or bite to eat, generally at a reasonable price.

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