Saturday, March 31, 2012
We got our priorities clear for Day 2- Colosseum and Roman Forum! We’d figure out the rest later. It turned out to be a GLORIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL day and I am so thankful for that. We jumped on a bus to head to the Colosseum, but we saw this big, beautiful building on the way that seemed important, so we jumped off early to take some pics. Turns out it was Il Vittoriano
Just a quick detour and we were back on track to the Colosseum! Another jaw dropping moment (quite a few of those on this trip). The thing about the Colosseum is trying to grasp how old it really is. This thing is quite literally ANCIENT. And just like some aspects of the Vatican, trying to imagine this place being built and used literally thousands of years ago is a major gut check. I took Latin for 3 years in high school (don’t ask) so I learned a fair amount about Ancient Rome, but always these dinky little pictures in text books and stories about what went on. They seem like fairy tales almost. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be seeing it with my own two eyes, let along walking around in it and touching it!! Really, really incredible. (I am going to assume everyone reading knows what went on in the Colosseum- gladiator battles, animal shows, and other forms of rather barbaric entertainment. And if you haven’t seen the movie Gladiator, come on.)
After wandering around the Colosseum, we walked across the street, spotting Constantine’s Arch, then entered into the Forum area and Palantine Hill. These paths and hills, which turn into many ruins, used to be the center of it all! The main part of the city where people lived, worked, and played of course. There was so much hustle and bustle going on. I’ve said it before, but it is so crazy to think of how much life was going on here… it just happened to be thousands of years ago!
It was already a very long morning with A LOT of walking, but we were not done yet! We exited the Forum and stumbled right into the Capitol. We wandered around some streets and grabbed some lunch, then walked along Via del Corso which is the main shopping street 🙂 But branching from that street is the Trevi Fountain! A ‘fountain’ seems almost inappropriate to call this waterfall type sculpture on steroids. It is 1- huge and 2- beautiful. If I were ever to throw some money into a fountain and make a wish to come true, this one has got to be the one. So I tossed in a 50 cent piece (big spender!) and wished real hard 😉
We continued along the main shopping area, and took a look at all the touristy trinkets, and eventually made our way to the Spanish Steps! These beautiful stairs connect two piazza’s for a place that is full of hustle and bustle (and a bit of lounging!).
After a super full day of walking, we were pooped. We decided to take a regroup a bit in our hotel before heading to dinner. Our wonderful hotel put a reservation for us in another adorable traditional Italian and Roman restaurant. It was family owned, had amazing food and great service. We were suckered into a custard for dessert (“No dessert?! Aww, but its my mama’s custard! The best! I bring 2 spoons for you, 1 custard, I insist”) The older server was just too sweet to say no too. And he proceeded continue filling up our glasses with limoncello afterwards as well.
There were also 2 other Italian gentlemen dining next to us, and one of them offered to fill our glasses as well, having the bottle of limoncello left on his table by the waiter. His english was very broken (the other man spoke no english at all) but he was so kind and inquisitive about our trip. The most interesting thing I got out of the conversation was how diverse he explained the different cities in Italy to be. All of the cities have different styles and paces of life, unique cuisines, and historical and cultural idiosyncrasies. He definitely inspired me to visit more areas of Italy when I hopefully get the chance.
We returned to the cute bar we were at the night before to finish the evening, then we all but passed out returning to our hotel… Needed some quality zzzz’s to have a great last day in Rome 🙂