It’s easy to get excited when visiting Rome: Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon and Vatican City, just to name a few. For us, Rome was our first Italian city and we were equally excited to enjoy some good wine and pizza/pasta.
It’s not very often you’ll hit a home run with accommodations, especially while traveling on a budget. Rome would be our exception, as we found a home away from home at the Beehive Hostel. Maybe a 3-minute walk from Termini Station, the Beehive was surprisingly quiet and we couldn’t feel any further from the city. I suppose RS (Rick Steve’s) can travel with us a little longer…
If you aren’t excited to explore the Colosseum, maybe it’s time to repack your overstuffed suitcase/backpack and head home. If you can brave the selfie sticks (pole-contraption that holds your phone) and tour operators begging for business, do so and get in line for your tickets.
After shuffling through the line for 30 minutes, we received our tickets and slowly stepped to the arena.
Perhaps I was naive, or just ill prepared, but I can’t recall many life-moments that left me speechless, this was one. The Colosseum was much larger and far more intricate than I had imagined. Kim had already been on a previous trip, so the initial shock was shared alone. It’s weird to think this place was once filled with tens of thousands of Romans all cheering and chanting for death, and on rare occasion, life.
The arena has seen battles of brave warriors, slaves, ferocious and exotic beasts, as well as naval games, all for the enjoyment of the Emperor and those loyal to the Empire. We spent nearly 2 hours marveling at the architectural and historical feat that is the Colosseum and could easily have spent several more.
Are you not entertained?
Included in the ticket price for the Colosseum and equally as impressive, The Forum. It didn’t seem like many people knew this, as the Forum wasn’t nearly as crowded as the Colosseum.
For centuries this rectangular plaza was the center of Roman public life. To actually walk the crumbled streets surrounded by ruins of government buildings and elaborate temples was quite a treat. RS pulled through again with his walking tour, which identified each ruin and created a powerful image of what this area once was.
Most interesting to us was a little apse underneath a metal roof, which is where the body of Julius Caesar was burned. Many people still leave flowers at this spot.
Where the body was burned.
After standing under the metal roof for several minutes, we were greeted with a heavy downpour. Perhaps the proclaimed God Caesar was telling us to leave… and we did.
Of course, one of the best preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings is the Pantheon. The granite columns and magnitude of this building is astounding. How the hell was this built thousands of years ago?
Enjoying lunch and the Pantheon view during a thunderstorm.
This being a free attraction made it that much better, not to mention the fantastic Gelato surrounding the plaza. Oh, and the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest non-reinforced concreted dome and it looks like it was built within the last century.
After finding the Spanish Steps, we quickly made our way up the 135 steps to enjoy the view. There were many people enjoying wine/beer and the small snacks from nearby food-carts. I would imagine a hot summer day and good company would make this place rather special.
Our final hours in Rome were spent at Vatican City and Castel Sant’Angelo. Kim had already been inside the Vatican and from the looks of the line and time-of-day, we wouldn’t make it. Even if we had, you can’t take any pictures, so no luck with sharing.
After a long day of sightseeing, we asked ourselves, “What does this city do better than any other?” “pasta”. And so we enjoyed delicious pasta and wine to end our time in Rome.