I promise not to put so many photos online again. I realise there was a heap of pix last blog but as I explained Rome has so much to see and visit. For instance nobody goes to Rome without visiting the Colosseum and there was no way we were going to miss it. We’d sighted it a few times while doing loops on the Hop-on Hop-off bus but now we were on a guided tour. Would have been a better tour if the guide had the experience to be interesting but luckily the Colosseum is interesting in itself.
Big and Bold
From where we met the guide we walked around the perimeter of the structure which really gives you a good understanding of just how big it is. The entry gates are near the Arch of Constantine (the 10th photo). We then followed the path under the outer arch of the ground level before negotiating several flights of stairs. On about the third level there are displays of statues, reliefs and illustrations. My favourite is the picture of a section of the crowd during the ‘games’. Take the time to have a close look at it. There’s a punch up between fans, graffitti artists at work, bored people playing games and so much more. Not that different to today’s footy games.
Eventually we moved into the inner concourse where spectators watched gladiators and wild animals fight for their lives. Well that’s what we thought however the guide says ‘nuh’. Most of the battles were criminals with death sentences or would be heroes wanting to make a name for themselves. There were some genuine gladiators but not at every event.
No Free Admission Now
In one particular photo I have zoomed right in to a recess where a crucifix stands. That is the place where the Emperor sat. Meanwhile (next photo) the Senators sat further around in a special VIP box. The regular street people sat higher up. There was also a huge sail cover over much of the stadium.
Below the sandy arena floor were several subterranean levels where events were prepared and animals and warriors moved with minimum fuss (one presumes). To go down to this level today you must be prepared to part with many, many drachmas. Far more than we could afford.
In the last three photos we go through (around actually) Constantine’s Gate to Palatine Hill to where the next gallery will come from. Palatine Hill is where Romulus and his twin Remus founded Rome on the 21st April 753 BC. The legend of the twins is quite interesting and if you follow this link you will see a statue that is often replicated.
Where it Began
I’ll start this second part off with a map of the Colosseum. You will notice however that there is more to it than just the stadium. As I mentioned at the end of the last section when you leave the stadium you head up past Constantine’s Gate to Palatine Hill. The high shots you’ll see early in the gallery were taken from atop Domus Tiberiana (number 23 on map photo). From here we also had some great views of Rome making it obvious why Romulus chose this spot. It gives all round vision to forewarn of anyone approaching.
So Much to See
With a close inspection of the photos and the signs prior to these photos you may be able to interpret what it is you are looking at. These ruins of ancient Rome are extensive and could take days to see properly. For Shane and I though one of the biggest surprises was in the photos immediately following the pic of the sun setting behind the columns. I suppose if you saw these every day you wouldn’t notice them but we were amazed at how ruins like these are all over the city and yet the locals don’t see them.
The seven photos after the staue of Romulus and Remus are pics of a piazza designed by Michelangelo. Beyond those photos are some of Vittoriano. This over the top building also known as the Victor Emmanuel National Monument was built between 1885 and 1935. The Quadriga of Unity, the statues of the 4 horses and chariots on top of either side of the building are over 11 meters tall.
I have said it several times now. If you had 3 lifetimes in Rome you couldn’t see it all. It is fascinating city and we loved it.
That’s it for now. I’m still trying to catch up but at least next blog we are out of Rome and in romantic Florence. Keep watching.
Garry & Shane