Aug 14 TUE – Colosseum


It was a late, late wake up for us this morning.  We left the hotel around 12 noon. It is still 6AM in America. We slowly retraced out steps from Sunday walk, and I even bought a paper map of Rome (€7.35).  With an international data plan on iPhone, role of paper maps going down.  They are nice, but not a vital necessity anymore.


Lira - Hotel Sant Angelo Roman-Forum---Plan
It is 12 noon in Rome.  Who is turning 40-something soon? Very detailed map of the whole Forum is inside the gates, so you need to purchase a ticket to review, what you want to see.


We were planning to have our first meal of the day at a vegan place from Lira’s list – Bibliothe (Via Celsa, 4) near Teatro Argentina. But once again it was closed for holidays (“chiuso per ferie”).

We climbed the stairs to the right of the omnipresent Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, passed all the seductive entrances to Capitoline museums, and squeezed into a narrow passage – Via del Campidoglio.


 Forum view from-Via de Monte Tarpeo Palatino - form Via Monte Tarpeo
The best view is from the back, if you walk between buildings of Musei Capitolini, and it totally free


We reached Forum at 13:34 (Via Monte Tarpeo), and had an excellent view down at the Forum.  This is a perfect place for taking pictures.

But this was not the entrance side. This was a back side, where Forum and Palatine hill meet.  To reach the entrance we had to go all the way around exploring Via dei Cerchi, Circo Massimo and soaking in the sun.  At Palatine hill entrance we bought only available type of tickets -“combo tickets” for all three sites (Palatine hill, Forum and Colosseum – €12×2 cash) at 14:33.  No waiting in line here – thanks to Rick Steves.


Unusual building on Via del Circo Massimo Colosseo under deconstruction
We did pay attention to sites that are not to be found on any tour guides.  Where are usual in all Italy window shutters? All the holes are not from wars.  No. They indicate that beams where attached to outer walls that are no longer there


But before entering, we had to eat something.  We found a place (Pasqualino Al Colosseo – Via dei Santi Quattro, 66) with a Russian-speaking “cameriere” (waiter) from Samarkand.  Actually, as soon as other waiters hear an accent in our broken Italian “bubble”, they immediately decide: these guys need someone with Russian. We got pasta and a salad. We are still new to the whole routine, so we were pained by a 4 euro bread charge (15:56 – €34).


Lira-in-Colisseo Alex -All colors lifted by Photoshop
It is not that hot inside Colisseo, and only flash can help to make a good picture This was just too good to loose.  I did a selection by max Color Range in Photoshop, and got a perfect sketch from a photograph


Next we explored the Colosseum.  It appears, nobody really knows, where the actual seats were.  None of the original seats left anywhere on the stadium. Not a single one! They restored some superficial seats, but they absolutely do not fit into the picture.

This is a huge interesting man-made “crater” with very little guidance.  You can buy an audio guide, but judging by the blank faces of the listeners, creators of the guide were doing their best guess work.

As evening pressed on we returned to Palatine hill.  Palatine hill ruins are expansive, and require time to explore.  But you can’t really explore anything, because all interesting niches are blocked for tourist access.  And the “scavi” (excavations) are still going on.  Something new was discovered in 2009, and the only guidance that it is very unusual structure, and it most likely was used for wine related activities.  At this is right in the middle on Roman capital.  Truly, so much info lost since the fall of Roman Empire.


Colosseo - No place for seats Colosseo - view from Palatino
Someone is trying to convince us that there were individual seats outside right on the sun.  And later, someone diligently removed all the seats without leaving any trace of destruction.  There is no place for seat in our understanding of a stadium One of the best views on Colosseo is opening from Palatino.  Tickets are working for all three sites. But is it 18:30 already and site will be closing in 30 minutes


We hardly have 15 minutes to explore the ruins of Forum, but I am glad that we saw ruins of Temple of Constantine.  Three lower remaining arks absolutely grandiose.  All future generations of religious and monumental buildings were based on this design.  Even before designated 19:00 all visitors are promptly advised out of the “park” into the streets.

We exited on Via dei Fori Imperiali, and had an opportunity to examine ruins on the other side –

We bought a yellow melon (€2 19:32) at a fruit stand and ate it.  A note for the future: do not buy a yellow watermelon.  Stick with the red.

We ate our dinner at a very different area of Rome.  Not far from Piazza di Spagna, but far away from the tourist path. Ristor Arte Il Margutta (Via Margutta, 118) claims to be vegetarian since 1979.  At least that is said on their window.  Can you believe this?

As we walked on Via Margutta further away from Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti (Spanish Steps), we saw the change in the neighborhood scene.  Dramatically less people on the street. Houses better maintained and clearly expensive.  The whole atmosphere more somber and quite.


This is just a side gallery of a absolutely gigantic Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. The main “lobby” was cover by even bigger arches.  Today we see only foundations of those arches on top of side gallery Do not try yellow watermelon
Basilica of Maxentius - It was wholesome once
Via dei Fori Imperiali: line at a fruit stand. Do not try yellow watermelon.  We did for you.  It is not very sweet.


Finally, at the very end of the street we found this restaurant.  And they were open.  And they have a table for us without a reservation.  And outside.  Perfect. (€42.50 – 22:40)

On the way back to the hotel we could not help wondering, what is awaiting us tomorrow with a car and new places every day.

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Navigate through the List

  1. Italy 2012 August - Roma, Firenze, Napoli and between (2023/11/24)
  2. Aug 10-11 FRI-SAT - A two-day flight to Rome (2023/11/28)
  3. Aug 12 SUN - First steps in Rome - Pantheon (2023/12/04)
  4. Aug 13 MON - Vatican (2023/12/08)
  5. Aug 14 TUE - Colosseum (2023/12/12)
  6. Aug 15 WED - Getting the car - Starting North - Viterbo (2023/12/16)
  7. Aug 16 THU - Bagnoregio in Lazio, Orvieto in Umbria (2023/12/20)
  8. Aug 17 FRI - Orvieto - Montepulciano - Siena (2023/12/24)
  9. Aug 18 SAT - Siena - Villa Galileo - Firenze - Day 1 (2023/12/28)
  10. Aug 19 SUN - Firenze - Day 2 - Uffizi Gallery (2024/01/04)
  11. Aug 20 MON - Firenze (Day 3) - Collodi (2024/01/08)
  12. Aug 21 TUE - From Pescia to Lucca (2024/01/12)
  13. Aug 22 WED - Lucca (Toscana) - La Spezia (Liguria) (2024/01/16)
  14. Aug 23 THU - Cinque Terra [... in progress ...] (2024/01/20)
  15. Aug 24 FRI - Torre del Lago Puccini - Pisa and Agriturismo (2024/01/24)
  16. Aug 25 SAT - Agriturismo in Pitigliano [... in progress ...] (2024/01/28)
  17. Aug 26 SUN - Road to Napoli [... in progress ...] (2024/02/04)
  18. Aug 27 MON - Napoli - Day 2 [... in progress ...] (2024/02/08)
  19. Aug 28 TUE - From focused Napoli to heavenly Sorrento (2024/02/12)
  20. Aug 29 WED - Capri - Day 1 [... in progress ...] (2024/02/16)
  21. Aug 30 THU - Capri - Day 2 [... in progress ...] (2024/02/20)
  22. Aug 31 FRI - La Dolce Far Niente [... in progress ...] (2024/02/24)
  23. Sep 1 SAT - Mount Vesuvius [... in progress ...] (2024/02/28)
  24. Sep 2 SUN - Last day in Rome [... in progress ...] (2024/03/04)
  25. Sep 3 MON - From Rome back to Boston (2024/03/08)
  26. Italy 2012 - Final Summary - Rules to Adopt and Follow <br> (2024/03/12)

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