Monday, December 17, 2012

Faraway Adventures: Rome-Ancient Rome

This was the day that I had been waiting for for a long time. I minored in Classical Civilizations in my undergrad studies; I took years of Latin, Roman and Greek history, art and mythology classes. Studying a dead language and things that happened thousands and thousands of years ago did not help my job possibilities after graduation, but it gave me a good foundation for so much more than a paycheck.  Understanding Latin and all its tenses helped me in all my English Languages classes (my for realz major). It was in my Roman History class, that I learned about  government,  and  the rise and fall of republics and democracies.  And the best advice and tips I have ever received on public speaking came from a entire semester that was spent translating Cicero's speeches. That guy could both wound and heal with words. 

We started out at the Colosseum. Officially named, the Flavian Amphitheatre, built between 72 and 80 AD by the Flavian family of emperors, to host gladiator matches and other spectacles. It has four stories,  157 feet high, and nearly a third of a mile around, and it's footprint is nearly 6 acres.  At its hay day it could hold 50,000  toga wearing spectators. And all the spectators entered and watched the events for free, because the empire took so good care of the masses. So, yeah, the Colosseum was a PR tactic.

Cowboys at the Colosseum

Long time readers might remember a post that I wrote months ago about slides that my dad took when he was stationed in Europe with the army. I asked my mom to bring a couple of those slides. With most of the slides, it was a little hard to place exactly where they were taken, but the Colosseum is hard to mistake. After touring the inside of the arena, we walked around the outside to find the exact spot that my dad took a photo. We found it, and stood in his footsteps.

Across the way was the Forum, the ancient city center.  I had to take a moment to let the awe inspiringness of the place wash over me. Julius Caesar walked this roads, so did Augustus, all the other emperors and Cicero and maybe even Peter and Paul from the New Testament. This is not a history book or history lectures. This is real.

This is the spot where the body of Julius Caesar was cremated. After seeing this, I launched into a dramatic retelling of the death of Caesar, mainly for my sister, but I am sure other random tourists were amused too. Et tu, Brute?

 That tall building there, that is the Senate, like, THE SENATE. 

We even saw one of the legendary cats that are known to roam among the ancient ruins.

After the Forum, we toured the nearby remains of the home of Augustus Caesar, that still had some original frescoes, and the "hut" of Romulus, the founder of Rome.

You would think that this was already an action packed day, but it was our last full day in Rome so we had a couple of other things to see. After exiting the Forum we walked to the Circus Maximus where the ancient Roman folk held chariot races (it's now a public park), and then, AND THEN, we had our first taste of real Italian gelato:
One little scoop of Pistachio and one little scoop of Cinnamon Pear. 

After our refreshment and with it getting dark and late we headed to the Trevi Fountain and The Spanish Steps. Both were super crowded and the street merchants were super aggressive (Do I look like I would want to buy that? No. No. No!), making it, sadly, a little hard to enjoy either one of the famous sites, but still, we were in Rome, and that is pretty majestic in itself.


  1. Love, love, love!!! I think we must plan ourselves a road trip for after you're gone. Meet in the middle or some exotic locale. I love your sense of adventure.

  2. Can I come too?!

    I'm a bit surprised how busy Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps were even in the off season. Guess that goes to show how Italy is always in season.

    Ps. Your image of the hole in the ancient wall turned out very nicely.