Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
You can't really go to Rome and not visit the Colosseum. We'd also been told that the Roman Forum was a must see so our very kind tour guide booked us a walking tour to see both plus Palatine Hill. The weather forecast said rain but we were hopeful so we put in our new umbrella's and headed to the bus.
Our meeting point was by the Arch of Constantine, thankfully that is easy enough to find. However, the tour not so much as there are many places a tour guide could be but we figured waiting and seeing would be ok.
Our tour guide found and our tour began. There was a lot of information about the Colosseum and its history. It was built where Nero's golden house was. That house had a water feature and so that was included in the Colosseum originally, allowing for recreations of famous ship battles.
When it first opened by the Emperor Titas in AD80 he had 100-day game celebrations. Everyone went and it was free. The poorest people sat up the top and the richest down the bottom. 5000 odd animals died in those first 100 days, as well as 9000 gladiators and a bunch of prisoners. Pretty awful stuff, but it was a different world back then. They only had entertainment a few times a month, so after the 100-day celebration, it was much less.
It is called the Colosseum after a large statue of a man that was outside it called the Colossus.
No Christians were ever killed inside the Colosseum. We heard this fact on the bus and on the tour. I guess there is a myth around this fact and they are quick to clear it up.
They have been restoring it carefully and so some parts look newer, but it is great to see what it would have been like. They've also put down a floor in one part so that you have some idea how it covered all the tunnels and secret stage parts that ran under the floor. Between all the columns ran all the marble seating, however, there is only one part you can see these. All the rest have gone.
It was pretty cool to look at it all, but unfortunately, the heavens opened and the rain bucketed down. We saw one girl who was soaked to the skin. There were areas where it was covered so lots of people ended up jammed in these parts. Our tour guide tried very hard to keep us informed but most people lost interest as they were more concerned about getting wet. We didn't care that much, it was kinda exciting.
A number of the tour decided to not continue at that point. The rest of us figured it was just water and we headed outside towards the Palatine Hill.
The hawkers all had ponchos out and we asked one guy for two (two umbrellas weren't quite enough and we had left our jackets at the apartment as it was so hot). Dan went to pay him, I had assumed they were 2 Euro each because that is what they'd been before but they were clearly trying to make money and he said they were 5 Euro each. Dan was like "Nah! 2 Euro" and the guy grabbed them back looking really offended and left.
We laughed about it for ages. It stopped raining about 5 minutes later and we had saved ourselves what was essentially $20 bucks for two plastic bags. But everywhere you looked there were people wearing them. It was so funny!
So through the puddles, we headed towards the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. These places are very ancient. Palatine Hill is, according to mythology, the place where Romulus started to build Rome after he'd killed his twin brother Remus. They were arguing about where to build a great city. I'm not too sure why they just didn't paper, scissors, rock for it.
Another arch with some detail carved into the sides.
Up the hill, we went and began looking around the ruins. The Palace of Augustine is here and you can see different parts of it from the private areas to the more public areas.
On the hill is also a garden that is being redeveloped.
From here you can see across Rome and the Roman Forum.
Asher's wet hair look.
We entered the Roman Forum and began hearing about the history of the place. It was essentially a marketplace with a few temples and sacred places, including the palace of the Vestal Virgins who had to keep a fire lit at all times. If they failed they faced a terrible death. It did also have the parliament and some banks too I think.
Below you can see the layers that were built on top. We are standing on the ground that was the original street back in 8th / 7th Century BC.
Some Temples survived because they became churches and were looked after.
Vestial Virgins home. Lots of statues and they had water features too.
Julius Ceasar was burned here in a very public burning.
Nice to see people still want to honour someone that died in 44BC.
It was pretty cool to be standing in places that were that long ago. Our tour guide showed us pictures of what it would have looked like and it would have been pretty amazing to see it like it was. Though living today is much safer I think.
We then headed back towards our accommodation, walking past the 'birthday cake of Rome' on our way.
Many, many steps that we decided not to walk up. It had been a pretty fantastic afternoon. Rest was needed before we headed out for dinner.