Our time in Rome got off to a bit of a rocky start. Our guide, sweet as she is, pretty much had us scared silly right off the bat – terrible traffic, pickpockets, mean people, easy to get lost…we were ready to hide away except when we were with the guides.
But, then we met Mike and Mary Jo who have taken us under their wings. They got in a day early and toured the town on their own and thought she’d exaggerated the difficulty. So, we’re stickin’ with them!
Today was a lecture in the morning about art history by a University Professor who wove art, politics, religion and social commentary together to provide a foundation for what we were going to be seeing during our time in Rome. VERY interesting!
Then it was off on a walking tour by way of the restaurant where we were having lunch as a group, followed by a visit to the Coliseum and Forum.
The first thing we are learning is that Italians don’t make a bad bottle of wine. “Vino della casa bianca, per favore” is a phrase we’ll be using often. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what it means.
My favorite part of lunch was a plate of Italian cheeses. I never would have thought of drizzling sharp cheeses (like parmigiano reggiano) with just a tiny bit of honey – takes them from really good to exceptionally good. Just what I need, another way to make cheese amazing!
Tummies full, we headed to the Coliseum, and enroute saw the “gladiator school” where the gladiators trained for their performances.
The biggest surprise for me was how little of the original Coliseum still stands. Much of it has been rebuilt (although they do the rebuilding a different material so you can tell the original from the reproductions) and then leave open space in other areas. It is very impressive.
The entire floor of the original arena is missing, but they’ve replaced a portion so you can see what it would have looked like. The wooden floor then would have been covered with sand to soak up all the blood. What a gruesome past time that was!
The walkways were hard to navigate, but these are not the original pavers. The Roman’s rock work was so tight you couldn’t put the blade of a knife between them. These were done much later when they apparently decided precision was not necessary.
The Forum area is pretty amazing. Part of it has been reconstructed, but a large portion has just been left as it was found. Another thing that was surprising is that the Italians have pretty much quit digging. There is much still left under the ground, but digging would not only threaten what they’ve already discovered, but they just can’t afford to keep up any more. So much that is there, buried, will stay lost to the ages.
I took literally hundreds of photos. All this old stuff hits right in my ten ring. I have no idea what I’m going to do with all of them. Pages and pages of collaged images in a scrapbook are going to be a little boring to anyone but me. Ha! I guess if “I” like it, that’s all that matters, huh? But I DO need to eliminate some. There are just way too many. Or are there?