Friday, June 8, 2012

The Honeymoon: Ancient Rome!

After our busy Monday at the Vatican, we decided to spend Tuesday touring Ancient Rome - the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum.  We had thought about getting an early start, but ended up sleeping in a bit.  And it's good we did - due to a "labor meeting," none of the sights opened until 12! So getting down to the Colosseum area at 10:30 am actually put us ahead of schedule.

On our walk down, we got a closer look at the Vittorio Emmanuel II Monument - apparently the Romans can't stand this thing!

I thought it was pretty, and lived up to one of its nicknames - the Wedding Cake!

And then we continued our stroll down to the Colosseum!

These ruins were part of Trajan's Forum, which we did not tour (it's really amazing how there are new buildings built right up next to the old ruins!)

Gene's a fan!

And...the COLOSSEUM!

My pictures aren't really able to capture the scale of the Colosseum - it's BIG!

Again, wrap your head around the fact that this was built during the first century! 
And is still standing! This was probably one of my favorite things that we saw in Rome.  The Colosseum is just AMAZING!

The Arch of Constantine, right next to the Colosseum.  Apparently Constantine just grabbed carvings off other monuments to make his own.  Re-purposing was pretty common, as there is marble in St. Peter's Basilica from the Colosseum!

As I mentioned, the Colosseum was closed until 12.  We wandered around a bit, and then decided to sit for a while near what we suspected was the entrance...and we were right! Not 5 minutes later, people started lining up near this gate, and so we joined the crowd.  While I wasn't a fan of waiting in line for an hour, our decision quickly proved to be correct as the line just kept growing and growing! Also, while I was concerned about getting in and hung up in security, that wasn't an issue - once the gates opened, we got our Roma Passes scanned and headed right in with NO security check! (I'll write more on the Roma Pass in another post!)

One of the benefits of being some of the first people inside - no crowds clogging up my photos!

On the left side of this picture, you can see where they've recreated what the floor of the Colosseum would have looked like.  Straight ahead would have been seating!

Underneath that platform would have been all sorts of compartments for the various sets that they used, along with different trapdoors for gladiators and animals to enter the stadium.  One of my favorite stories from our audioguide was for Emperor Hadrian's birthday, he had 10,000 gladiators fight 11,000 animals! Also, once a whale washed up on the shore and inspired whoever planned these things, to build a giant whale in the Colosseum and when it opened its mouth, out came 50 bears!! 

Another fun fact: gladiators lived to an average age of 30.  What was the life expectancy of your average Roman? Yep, about age 30!

A glimpse of Constantine's Arch and Palatine Hill behind it

There is a cross in the Colosseum, but contrary to popular belief, there is no historical evidence that any Christians were martyred here. 

After we finished our tour of the Colosseum, we grabbed some lunch from one of the food carts before heading into Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.  Like at many of the historical sights, there were really annoying and aggressive guys selling scarves, sunglasses and other assorted crap.  Gene quickly noticed how fast they would disperse if they saw police, and so he would immediately start saying "polizia! polizia!" and pointing behind the guy, which made most of them run away.  It was pretty funny, and a very effective way of dealing with them.

Checking out Palatine Hill.  After the Colosseum, it was really nice to wander wooded grounds where people were spread out, and you got a break from the crowds!

The Arch of Titus, on the Via Sacra (the main street that runs through the Roman Forum)

It was hard to capture the Forum in photos! Ruins and rubble everywhere.

The Arch of Septimus Severus

I think it was around 5 p.m. that I decided the Roman Forum would be greatly improved by the addition of a wine bar! It was a good thing we were done touring around, as it was DEFINITELY wine time!

Yum, pinot grigio! White wine was for daytime drinking, I decided.

And yes, we would love some cheese with our wine!

After our refreshing snack and drink, we decided to head over to the Trevi Fountain as it was on our way back to our hotel.

It is BIG!! I couldn't get over how big the fountain is!

And again, lots of annoying con men types working the crowd, wanting to take your picture and all sorts of other things.  Luckily there were lots of other nice tourists happy to take your picture!

After our visit to the Trevi Fountain, we headed back to our hotel to relax for a bit.  We then decided to head over the the Piazza Navona to find a place for dinner!

Where we found more fountains!

And lions!

And Chianti! While I forgot to get any photos of dinner, it was delicious and ended with complementary shots of limoncello!

In our quest for gelato, we wandered by the Pantheon again...

And then back to the Trevi Fountain for the night/gelato view!

Whew!! That was quite a day! I'm not sure if I mentioned it yet, but every single night I think we went to bed exhausted!!! But it was all worth it!

Miss a honeymoon recap?

The Honeymoon: Paris - Our First Day
The Honeymoon: Paris - Day Two
The Honeymoon: Paris - The Louvre!
The Honeymoon: Au Revoir, Paris!
The Honeymoon: Buon Giorno, Rome!
The Honeymoon: Rome - Vatican City


  1. Amazing!! :-)As I mentioned before I leave next Tuesday to Italy for our honeymoon and all your recaps are getting me super excited! I am glad to see you guys had a great time!

  2. amazing day!! Love the trevi fountain! I like your white wine for day drinking rule..that's a good one!