Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Pearls in Rome, Day Two (Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill)

Yesterday's post covered the first day of our trip to Rome, in case you missed it!  Here's what happened on our second day in the Eternal City!

Thursday, March 21:
Thursday was a full day--exhausting, but in a good way.  We started out with a long and very informative tour of the Colosseum (including the dungeons underneath the arena floor, where the slaves and animals were kept).

Our sweet tour guide.  I loved the way she said "Emm"  with her heavily Italian-accented
English, instead of "Umm," when searching for just the right word.

Did I get photos of the ruins of the Colosseum from every possible angle?  
If not, it was certainly not for lack of trying!

One of the trap doors in the arena floor, where gladiators would be raised up 
while the crowds roared.

Here is a replica of the kind of "elevators" that were hidden beneath the trap doors.
 Large animals such as lions and tigers could be raised in cages, using a contraption like this.

Again, just like with the Pantheon, I loved to hear how this once-pagan amphitheater had eventually been consecrated to the Catholic Church--and now even has four Stations of the Cross to solemnly venerate on Good Friday, in the same arena where Christians were once killed for sport. 

Rome is like a veritable Catholic Disneyland, where everywhere the eye can see, there are signs and symbols of the beautiful Faith--the New Covenant--instituted by Christ, who came to earth as man and died for our sins on the Cross.  I know that I was extremely privileged to be able to walk through this magnificent city and see these inspiring sights with my own eyes.  What a gift!  I wish every Catholic had the opportunity to do so as well.

After we toured the Colosseum, we walked all over Palatine Hill (part two of our guided tour, after which we were able to break off and explore at our own pace).

On Palatine Hill we saw the remains of the Forum and also the Circus Maximus, once the site of exciting chariot races but now not much more than an unpaved oval track in the grass.  In present-day Rome, joggers run along its dirt path, and you really have to use your imagination to envision what it was used for in ancient times.
Once upon a time, horse-drawn chariots raced here.

Finally, we walked back through the city to see the spot where Caesar was murdered by Brutus et. al. on the Ides of March (and we decided to do a very serious and realistic reenactment).  Many believe that the fatal stabbing took place over by the Forum, where the Senate would regularly meet.  But the spot where it actually happened is actually several streets away, over by those tall trees inside this walled area known as Largo Argentina.
These days, this area is home to countless stray cats.

"Et tu, Laura?"

Four of our sons took four years of high school Latin, and they all became huge enthusiasts of all things ancient Rome.  As we walked around the city and soaked up all the Roman history on display, I couldn't help but think of them.  (Rome made me miss my boys...but luckily, not too much to have the BEST TIME EVER!)

By the end of the day we had walked miles and miles and were completely tuckered out.  We had a beer back in our apartment and rested a bit before heading out to eat.

We walked over to a restaurant near the Spanish Steps and dined al fresco again (the weather was divine throughout our week--mild, without a drop of rain until the last day we were there), and I learned that my lasagna pales in comparison to the real deal.

The coffees in Rome are very small!  I felt like a giant drinking from this wee cup.  And
you see that tiny bit of liquid in there?  That was when it was "full."  I had yet to take a sip!
(My husband gamely posed his hand nearby to give this photo perspective.)

And of course, for dessert we had gelato.  (Neither of us was on a--emm, ehhh--on a diet during the Rome trip, so this was a nightly routine!)
The coffees might have been small over there, but the generous gelato servings more than made
 up for that!   (And of course, we never turned down the whipped cream bonus topping!)

Have I bombarded you with enough photos yet?

Next up in the series (yes, this is officially a series): a moving visit to the catacombs.  As if the architectural treasures engineered by the ancient Romans above ground (without the benefits of modern machinery and technology) weren't astounding enough, I was about to descend into an amazing three-story labyrinth of tunnels they'd created underneath the earth as a sacred Christian burial ground...


  1. Replies
    1. I walked around in awe all the time. I just loved it. I doubt I'll ever go back...but I actually wish I could. I can see why Rome is T's favorite city of all.

  2. Wow! How inspiring and just amazing. Plus such a pretty blue sky! And that gelato looks divine. I would love to visit Rome someday, until then I am going to live vicariously through your pictures!

    1. I know, that sky! I have so many pictures taken while I'm looking up: at ancient ruins soaring up into a clear blue sky, or at unbelievably gorgeous artwork and architecture high up on the walls and ceilings of the churches. I was straining my neck all the time!

      I hope you get to go there someday. For me, it was definitely worth the wait. I wasn't ready for overseas traveling when I was younger. It's taken me a long time to get brave enough! :)

  3. Such amazing pictures! And the food!! Speaking of "emmm", I've noticed that alot of Europeans say that instead of "ummm" including my German cousins. :)

    1. Hi Aileen! :)

      You know how much I loved my son's little Bavarian town...but I think Rome has moved into the number one spot. What an amazing place!