Our final afternoon in Rome was spent sight-seeing, where we spent a brief amount of time at all the touristy spots -- the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, & the Pantheon.
When we arrived at the Colosseum, there was a bit of drama because there was an employee union dispute going on... so even though our group had reservations, they weren't letting anyone in. So frustrating! This apparently happens fairly often, we were told... Thankfully, it all got sorted out within an hour or so. I wish we would have gotten more time in the Colosseum, but the 'workers on strike' BS really cut into our time there.
But, getting to walk through a structure that opened in 80 AD... was insanely cool. If you don't know much about the Colosseum, it's basically a massive (it covers 6 acres) amphitheater that was used for various gladiatorial events, animal hunts, & public spectacles. Built by Emperor Vespasian, it is considered the greatest work of Roman architecture & engineering. It is said to have taken the lives of about 500,000 people & over a million animals during it's time.
What's crazy is that back in the day, it looked nothing like it currently does. Much of it's former marble facade & some parts of it, were used for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica & other monuments. Also, part of the Colosseum collapsed in 847 because of an earthquake.
|^ look at that tourist line...|
It was built to signify a victory in some battle.
Making our way up Palatine Hill, we strolled under the Arch of Titus... again, a cool ruin.
It was built to commemorate the victory in the Jewish war. Ask Google to tell you more ;)
But seriously, the details on these structures are amazing. Especially considering the time in which they were constructed... I'm just baffled at how they managed to make these things thousands of years of ago. ..
Next up, are views from Palatine Hill, which is the one of the most ancient parts of Rome.
I don't know why, but I expected all of Rome to look like this. It doesn't, but there are random spots of ruins sprinkled throughout the city.
After a quick lunch, we saw the Spanish Steps (highly overrated, in my book... maybe it was the large crowd, construction, or the massive Michael Kors advertisement... you choose).
Random fact: In 1986, the first McDonald's in Italy opened near these steps.
We then walked past the Trevi Fountain, which happened to be under construction, boo!
It's apparently one of the most stunning fountains in the world, and it's one of the oldest water sources in Rome, as it was built at the end point of the Aqueduct -- you wanna read something cool? Read about the Roman Aqueducts.
Next to the Trevi Fountain is one of the best Gelateria's in Rome, so we indulged.
After fulfilling our sweet tooth, it was on to the Pantheon. You guys, this thing is awesome. Built in dedication to all the Gods of pagan Rome, it's architecture is amazing.
In the center of the dome, is an oculus or an opening at the top -- really, an engineering gem as no other oculus had ever come close to it's size. It's lined with Roman bronze & continues to be the main source of light for the whole building. It was never covered, so rain falls in & drains through the slightly convex floor.
After that, we had some time to meander throughout a nearby Piazza, which was filled with artists selling their prints, and people lounging at cafes. It was a lively yet quaint little town sqaure -- I loved it there.
There was a fountain the middle of the Piazza, as well as a fountain on each end.
We got to see Trajan's Column. The marble pillar was built to celebrate Trajan's victory of the Dacians. With over 155 scenes carved into it, it's quite fascinating.
Click here for a neat article on how to "read" the column.
Also, the Column of the Immaculate Conception, was neat to see.
Finally, after a long day of sight-seeing, we walked to a restaurant near our hotel for dinner. It was a lovely evening; we sat outside & sipped some Roman beer. Zac ordered a pizza, and I ordered pasta.
While we ate supper, we talked about how blessed we felt at that very moment. I have wanted to travel to Italy for quite some time, and it was finally real! All the while we pranced around Rome, I just felt an overwhelming rush of thankfulness.
Topping it off with an authentic heaping plate of pasta was just icing on cake.
Stay turned for images from the next city on our tour, the sacred destination of Assisi!