Published: June 16th 2017
Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823
This morning I headed out and walked towards the Colosseum. On the way I walked down some steps and there in front of me was Trajan’s Column. A huge 40m high marble column that he had made for himself in 113 AD. Up along the column are detailed scenes of battles. In the middle of the column is a staircase, but it is closed to the public. Next to the column are some ruins- a dozen or so columns. Nearby I can see the giant typewriter / wedding cake, as its known by the locals. It is actually Victor Emmanuel Monument. At the end of the street I could see the Colosseum. Decided to head straight there and see the ruins of the Forum that were on the way later on.
The Colosseum is like a huge roundabout. The Colosseum is quite impressive, built over 2000 years ago and in great condition. It is a huge amphitheatre. At first it was visited by wealthy citizens, who came to view the gladiators in combat and wild animals fighting. It has 80 arched entrances which allowed many people to enter and leave quite quickly. Part of the stone from the outer
wall was used to build bridges, palaces and part of St Peter’s! Gladitators were for public entertainment, they were slaves and prisoners. Below the surface of the Colosseum floor, it is visible to see part of the cages that were used to contain the wild animals.
From the top level of the Colosseum I could see parts of the Roman Forum and Palantine. Beside the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, which was built to commemorate his victory over his co-emperor.
I then walked through part of the forum and to Palantine. This was a large area and according to legend where Romulus and Remus were bought up in a cave by the she-wolf. This was the place to live. There are remains of temples, houses, a stadium and a small museum. An hour later I was getting hungry and frustrated as there were no signs saying ‘exit’ and I didn’t want to backtrack to where I entered. It was hot out in the 30 degree+ sunshine.
Walked through the forum. Saw remains of temples, a huge Basilica, arches and houses. This area is amazing, to think that they were able to partially reconstruct the buildings. What is left here
seems to be in a great condition and will stay that way as long as the pigeons don’t poo on it.
Walked up the hill and came to the Capitoline Museums. Will visit another day. Walked around and came to the ruins of four temples, known as the Area Sacra dell’Argentina. The discovery of the temples was only made in 1920. They are some of the oldest temples in Rome.
Then came across a statue in front of a church that seemed familiar and checking with my guide book I realized that it was the Obelisk of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (St Maria on top of Minerva). The church is supposedly built on top the Temple of Minerva. The obelisk was found in the garden of the church and Bernini designed an elephant for the obelisk to sit on.
Looking ahead was the back of the Pantheon. It was designed by the emperor Hadrian and was built on top of another temple. Raphael and Italian kings are buried here. It is 2000 years old. Inside it is quite plain, but the unique hole in the dome makes up for it. Around the corner there was a random statue of a large foot,
part of a giant Roman statue.
Started walking towards the river and came across Piazza Navona. In the middle is Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. I continued walking and at the end of the street I could see the bridge that led to the castle of Sant’Angelo, which is a large round building. The castle was originally Hadrian’s Mausoleum. It has been a prison and residence of popes. From the top of the castle I had a good view of Rome, lots of church domes! There is an escape route from the Vatican that leads to the castle in case the pope was in danger. There are many frescoed walls and beautifully decorated rooms in the castle. By this stage of the day I was feeling really tired and had a headache, so I caught a bus back to the hostel and had some aspirin and a lay down.
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