Saturday the 21st of January
This was another big day for our group of European adventurers. We left Assisi for the “big smoke” of Rome. However before we left we again were treated to a magnificent sight from our bedroom windows with dawn over the Umbrian countryside.
You can compare it with the pics of yesterday’s blog
The drive to Rome took two hours, and there was little noise in the bus. We are nearing the end of the trip and travel fatigue has set in. The boys are tired and so are the adults. However we had some exciting things to look at today so we had to fortify ourselves with a nap in the bus. (I know I did!)
We reached Rome and seceded to have lunch in the Piazza Risorgimento. The group found a variety of pizza and take away shops to eat at, and yes a lot of Gelato was consumed, again!
Our guide Salomé (yes that really is her name) took us on a tour of Rome. We saw some from the bus.
Trajan’s Column – Built by Emperor Trajan to recall his victory over the Dacians
We were dropped near the Coliseum and walked up toward the Constantine Arch. A magnificent stone monument built by the Emperor Constantine to celebrate his victory over his Co- Emperor Maxentius.
Obviously one of the must see items in Rome is of course the Coliseum, and it is in fact very hard to miss. The thing is huge.
The group out in front of the Coliseum
As we toured the place we were told how the Romans both built and used this building. They had a reservation system that would put many large stadiums to shame. People had to reserve tickets to enter and they had set places and seats. Each arch was an entrance which was numbered, and each arch led to the 1st 2nd or 3rd levels, and each seat in each level was numbered. It is estimated that the whole place, holding well over 30,000 people could have been emptied in less than 30 min.
One of the internal arches and corridors
We were then taken out on the steps to view the arena. This is the place where countless people fought and died, were exhibited and executed.
The Dieter and Harrison in front of the Arena
The floor of the Arena has long since gone as it was made of wood. However some has been reconstructed to show what it looked like. The spaces below show the cages and corridors, the places for lifts and trap doors.
The boys on the Coliseum
The group back outside
A short walk took us to the Forum. This was the power base of the Empire, where business was done and government took place. It was an area of valley between two hills that became the centre of the Empire. The Coliseum was entertainment, this place was power and wealth. A Basilica in latin is a place for people to meet. The most important in the Forum was the Basilica Aemilia, where people met and business was transacted.
The Basilica Aemilia
The guide was very knowledgeable and told us about the area and the things we were looking at.
The group and guide near the Temple of Vesta
The main meeting and discussion place was the open area of the forum itself. At the top was a Rosta (rostrum) where someone presided over the meeting
We were very close to history here. This is where Julius Caesar was cremated (the way Romans disposed of their dead) and initially buried by his adopted son Octavian, soon to be Augustus Caesar. As his body was burned it was said his soul was seen to go up to heaven thus making him a god.
The stone on which Julius Caesar was cremated
Many buildings around Rome have survived by them becoming Churches or Forts. The Tabularium was made into a fort and then became the council offices of Rome.
The Tabularium buildings are the lowest level of theis building. The new build on top is the council chambers.
Rome was the centre of the world. The Romans believed that this is where life and power came from, so they said that the “naval of the world” was here.
The Naval of the World
A general view of the Forum
After the Forum we walked along the streets of Rome until we came to the Pantheon. A magnificent ancient temple that was saved from destruction or vandalism because it became a church. This building has a massive dome that is made of concrete. The Romans discovered the secret of making concrete, and then it was lost until we re-discovered it nearly 2000 years later.
Inside the Pantheon is the Tomb of the great painter Raphael.
As I said we had a very busy day. We arrived at our accommodation this evening, and after a solid meal of Pasta, roast meat and mashed potato and fruit we are ready to settle down for the night, knowing that tomorrow we rise very early to ride south to Pompeii.
Playing in the snow
Lunch on the Grand Canal in Venice
Shutters clicking at the Coliseum
Inside the Pantheon