Be in Rome and not see the Colosseum? It’s like not being in Rome at all! Sightseeing in Rome continues – this time we focus on ancient Rome with a substitute of more modern attractions located in the area.
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First thing in the morning, we set off on foot towards the center of Rome. On the way we passed the historic aqueduct and the Pyramid of Rome, or Pyramid of Cestius, unfortunately it was being renovated. It is located near the Piazza di Porta San Paolo, right next to the Piramide metro station.
The square itself is equally interesting, mostly from a pedestrian’s perspective ;-) Walking further to the Colosseum, on the south side, one passes Circus Maximus, which is the oldest and largest circus of ancient Rome. Unfortunately, there is nothing left of it now, only depressions in the area that illustrate the enormity of the site.
After a short walk, the famous Roman amphitheater appears to weary wanderers. The Arch of Constantine the Great leads to the Colosseum. To make the tradition come true, there is a small queue waiting for us in front of the entrance ;) Fortunately, it turned out that with previously purchased online Archaeological Cards, we can go straight to the special checkouts and thus save about an hour of standing in line.
At the window we exchange a printout from the Internet for a ticket, which cannot be lost ;) The purchase of the card itself is recommended for anyone who wants to visit at least a few major sights. Besides, in Rome, you can also buy other types of tickets combined even with a public transport ticket.
In the Colosseum itself, you can visit two levels. There are also some VIP packages or organized groups that can go higher, but we were not so lucky. The entire Colosseum can be walked around. Huge arches, structures, a system of underground passageways, a covered roof – all of which only raise even more curiosity as to how such impressive structures could have been erected in the first century AD, in such a short period of time!!!?
At this point it is also worth realizing that something that is now admired was once the site of bloody scenes, violence, mass murders, and violent entertainment. The very distribution of seats shows social inequality (women had worse seats than slaves!).
A tour of the Colosseum alone may take a dozen minutes, but you can easily spend 2 hours there as well (admiring especially the exhibitions located on the highest accessible floor).
Finally, another view from the Colosseum of the Arch of Constantine the Great and the Palatine.
Roman Forum and Palatine
Right next to the Colosseum are the remains of the Roman Forum. Here the tour went faster. There are a few must-see places, but unfortunately the signage itself is poor, and you can miss a lot of things here too (just like when we visited the Vatican Museum). Fans of history and archaeology could certainly spend a whole day here (if not more), but we managed to see everything in about 1.5 hours.
In a nutshell, the Palatine is a hill on which imperial palaces have been built since the time of Octavian Augustus. The area more resembles a park, so if the weather is good and you have more free time you can relax a little there among the greenery.
The Roman Forum itself, meanwhile, contains an abundance of remains (literally!) of temples, arches and other structures. It is difficult for us to describe all of them, so a few photos will definitely better convey this atmosphere….
By far the most interesting element (monument) for us is something…. something that resembles a pile of earth or a smashed boulder ;-) It turns out that this is part of Caesar’s Temple, or more precisely, the altar on which Caesar was cremated. Just a curiosity! :)
The area around the Fori Imperiali and the Capitol
In between, we jumped for a small Italian lunch. The spaghetti, lasagna and casserole were simply delicious. Remember that not only in Rome, but everywhere when you are in a touristy place, it is worth looking for some place a little deeper and farther away…. it will be tastier and cheaper :)
While in the area of Fori Imperiali street, that is, between the Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum and Roman Forum, it is also worth seeing:
- Thermae – located across the street from the Roman Forum and Colosseum
- Capitol – a huge white marble building. You can climb to the top, from where we have a nice panorama of Rome.
- Capitoline Museums – on the Capitoline Hill
We, in order not to waste what precious time we had, climbed only the Capitol (super views cost nothing :-)) and strolled through what a beautiful area.
Tibrowa Island and the mouth of truth
Exhausted after a full day, we decided to return to our rented apartment on foot as well. On the way, we hooked up with the mouth of truth located in the atrium of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. You certainly know them from hypermarkets, where there were machines that could read palms ;) Legend has it, however, that these mouths closed when the person putting his hands into them spoke untruths – we, of course, returned safe and sound :) From a more practical point of view, the famous mouth was simply a gutter. Admission is free.
For the last item of the day, we left ourselves a visit to an ice cream shop located on an island in the Tiber River. The ice cream shop offers delicious ice cream! We returned there several times. What do you know a place by? The island itself is not large, so you will definitely notice the queue ;-)
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We also recommend coverage of our visit to the Vatican Museum (day 2) and a walking tour of the area, among others. Where we can see the Pantheon, the Di Trevi Fountain, the Quatro Fumi Fountain or the Spanish Steps(day 4).