A little history and architecture.

Trip Start Mar 01, 2007
Trip End Jul 01, 2009

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Flag of Italy  ,
Friday, July 6, 2007

After spending most of the day at the Vatican on Thursday, Friday was spent seeing the rest of the main attractions in Rome.  We spent the day by doing two separate ipod walking tours.  We downloaded these tours off the internet, put them on our ipods and off we went through ancient and old Rome with our headphones on, listening to "our own personal guide." 

The first tour, "Ancient Rome" went from Capitoline Hill through the Roman Forum and ended at the Colosseum.   The beginning of the tour led us up the cordonata, which is a ramp like stair case designed by Michelangelo.  At the top of the stair case lays Capitoline Hill (Capitol Hill), which from the earliest times, was the center of the political, social and religious life of Rome.   As we walked through the square, also designed by Michelangelo, we saw the Palazzo Senatorio.  This building stands on a site on which functions linked to the political life of the city have always been carried on.  We then walked to the left of this building and around it, and saw the arch and the Roman Forum.

This was quite a site.   I've never seen anything quite like these ancient ruins.   The first site that caught my eye was the Arch of Septimius Severus.  It was built in 203 AD and is 20 meters high, 25 meters wide and 11 meters deep.  After we stopped looking down at all the ruins, we walked down the stairs that lead to the Forum.  Before we made it to the bottom, we stopped at the Mamertine Prison that is believed to have held both Paul and the apostle Peter. To actually see the insides of one of the prisons that held the people that we read about in the Bible was pretty neat.   We then continued down into the stairs and looked back at the arch.  To the left of the arch was a row of pillars, known as the Temple of Saturn.  This was built in 497 BC and is one of the oldest temples in Rome.   We continued on our tour down the path called the Sacred Way, taking in all the ancient sites while listening to our audio/ ipod, guide.  Not surprisingly, the crowds at the Roman Forum were crazy.  As we shoved our way down the path, our "guide" told us about a place to buy tickets for the Colosseum, so we wouldn't have to wait in line once we got there.  Good advice.   Our next and final stop in the "Ancient Rome" tour was the famous Colosseum. 

The Colosseum is the largestamphitheater ever built in Rome and is the model for all sporting arenas built today.  This 2,000 year old building is the great example of Roman engineering.  I thought that the Colosseum was amazing.  It was hard to believe that we were standing in one of the most famous buildings in the world.  It really did look like an ancient sporting arena, except they didn't exactly play the kind of sports that we know of 2,000 years ago.  The Colosseum was used mainly for games, in which Gladiators, criminals and wild animals fought to death in every conceivable scenario.  Pretty gruesome stuff, if you ask me.

After leaving the Colosseum, we grabbed a bite to eat and went to the Pantheon.  This was the start of our second ipod tour, "Old Rome."  From the outside the Pantheon doesn't look like much, but on the inside the concrete roofed dome is remarkable.  It served as an inspiration for many people, including Michelangelo, who built the dome in St. Peter's Basilica.  I don't remember much  about the rest of our "Old Rome" tour.  (It did point out where Julius Caesar was killed and we saw some more churches that we probably wouldn't have seen otherwise.)   Both Joe and I got kind of bored with the second ipod tour.  After being on our feet all day and battling the heat and the crowds, we were both exhausted. We stopped and had something to drink in the popular Pazza Navona area.  We then went and saw the Fontana Di Trevi, which is probably the most famous fountain in Rome. 

After hanging out at the fountain, we ate an early dinner, which consisted of ravioli and tortellini.  This was an improvement over the first night, but  was still no Pasta Brioni (our favorite Italian restaurant in Phoenix).  After dinner we went back to the "apartment" and called it a night.
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