May 9 2012

Roman Holiday – Part II

As we were wandering about Rome on Tuesday, I noted a few general things. As large cities go, Rome was quite clean. There was pretty much no garbage lying about (plenty of trash cans) and while buildings did have some darkening due to auto exhaust, it didn’t seem as bad as, say Chicago. There seemed to be far fewer “homeless” persons than in a typical American city of a comparable size. Since gas prices were at around $10/gallon (converting from liters and Euro) there were basically no large personal vehicles (SUVs). Also, while driving, it might seem like you are constantly about to either hit someone or be rammed, there was very little evidence of actual collisions. There weren’t any little pools of broken glass on the road or even very many dents in autos. An initial hypothesis is that Italian drivers may actually pay more attention since the rules seem to be more fluid.
Another very fine thing is gelato. There are lots of places that sell gelato as you wander about. This makes getting lost not too bad. How lost can you be if you can stop and have some delicious gelato. We found one place (whose name I can remember) just outside of the walls of the Vatican that was very good. Another, Valentino’s, was just down from the Trevi fountain–also very good. We found that places that made their own and specialized in gelato to be better than places that happened to also sell gelato.
On Tuesday, we decided to see the Colosseum and the Forum area. We took a taxi there and disembarked near the Colosseum. The line to get in was quite long there and we didn’t have a ticket, but we did have SECRET KNOWLEDGE! I will know reveal this. Instead of getting your ticket at the Colosseum, you can go about 100 yards down Via di San Gregorio past the Arch of Constantine where you will find the entrance to the Forum/Palatine hill area. The line here is much shorter and you can buy a combined Forum, Palatine Hill, Colosseum ticket there. Here is the Arch of Constantine:

The Palatine hill area is a lovely place. It is full of green:

and ruins:

and flowers:
We really liked all of the wisteria.
The Palatine Hill contains the remains of the houses of various emperors–such as Augustus. There is certainly a sense of history as you walk about these gardened hills where the Roman elite once trod. This is reinforced as you get glimpses of the forum that lies at the foot of the hill.

Forum from the hill

Eventually, you will find yourself amidst the remains of the Roman Forum–just like me:
Steve at the Forum

Behind me on the left side of the photo are the remains of the Temple of Saturn and on the right is the Arch of Septimius Severus.
After walking through the Palatine and Forum, you can walk over to the Colosseum (that you now have a ticket to):

Once inside, there is lots of room even though there may be lines outside. It is quite fascinating inside and peaceful. It is not too hard, though, to imagine the roar of the crowd and the bloody spectacles within.

Interestingly and contrary to popular belief, there is no particular evidence that any Christians were ever “thrown to the lions” here.

The Colosseum was our final tromping about for Wednesday. That night, we had a lovely dinner at Lo Stil Novo. This was about a block from the hotel and located in a “clean and well lit” space in the cellar of a building. The food was really good and the atmosphere calming after a day amid the ruins.

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Posted May 9, 2012 by user in category "Trip

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