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Note, I've updated this as always my first attempts are a little rough. Usually I'm jet lagged and not in a rhythm of writing yet. So the first blog of a trip tends to be a little rough around the edges. So here is the amended version. Normally I'd do this once we got home but I'm sitting on a train from Venice to Naples as we passed by Rome, got inspired.

After getting home less than 24 hours from our annual trip to the Alders Beach Resort, we headed off to the airport. We had carefully sellected our routing to minimize stops and layovers. What should have been a 16 hour tripped turned into a 20 hour trip. Before we even left the house we knew the London-Rome segment was bumped to a later flight. Once at the airport we realized that the A380 from London was late arriving. We couldn't have made our connection. So we were automatically bumped to a later flight. On top of that there was air traffic delays into LHR and then our LHR Rome segment was delayed yet again by the plane being held up in Brussels. Par for the course in modern air travel I suppose.

 

At least we had time for a leisurely lunch in Heathrow. Nobody really slept on the first flight so naps were indeed needed on the second one. Lots of head bobbing going on.

After we landed we cleared customs quickly and found a van that would take us to the hotel. 1230am we are safely in room and ready to crash hard!

Wednesday morning we woke up at 830 and were actually up and moving by 9. Bit of a slow wake up but given we all slept hard and well, once we were moving it was fine. Breakfast was downstairs and was the usual stuff. European bacon which is spicier than the boys are used to but they still ate their share.

After breakfast it was time to head to Termini Train station so we could both get 4g wifi (mandatory these days) and get the Metro to actually see stuff. For wifi Vodafone was my first choice but they won't sell me a device with a Canadian credit card. No problems, TIM upstairs will. It just sucks of a lot of time on your first day sorting this stuff out. But with Facebook, snapchat and blog updates internet is no longer optional.

Once we finally got sorted, we took the Blue line metro 2 stops from Termini to Colosseo.

Fontana del Colosso (fountain running into a carved sarcophagus) in the arched wall outside the metro station provides free water. Given it was 32+ out today that was very welcome to fill and refill our camelbaks.

There was also a more modern one that had still and fizzante water.

 

Across the street is the Cololsseo:

That shot is literally just outside the metro exit.

We had prepaid tickets and so were able to turn in the coupon and then just stand in a relatively short but hot line to get in.

Colosseum, officially called the Flavian Amphitheater was built by Vespasian in 72 AD, his son Titus added the fourth story later. The walls are 57m tall. It looks round but is actually oval; wider (186m) than long (156m). Made of travertine marble held together by iron clamps (no mortar). The columns on the ground floor are Doric, middle floor are Ionic and upper floor are Corinthian. There used to be a grand awning covering the seats but damaged over time by fire, earthquakes and neglect. Some stones from the fallen outer wall were used to construct other buildings in Rome. The hypogeum, the 2-story underground labyrinth of tunnels, training rooms and cages are open to the public only with private tour. We didn't do that.

The last known games were held in 523, and the colosseum was abandoned through to the middle ages, when an Anglo Saxon monk decreed that Rome will stand as long as the colosseum stands, if the colosseum falls, Rome will fall, and if Rome perishes, the world will end. Was the second largest building in the ancient world, after the pyramids.

 

 

A brief History of Rome: King Numitor’s daughter, Rhea Silvia, was forcibly impregnated by the god Mars and she bore him twins, Romulus and Remus. They were set adrift in a basket on the Tiber river by her uncle, Amulius and rescued by Providence. A she-wolf suckled the twins until they were rescued by a herdsman. They founded a city on the Palatine hill, that later became Rome. Some say Rome dates from 753 BC, but archaeological finds below the Capitol and Palatine hills date to the 10th C BC.

Temple of Antonius Pius and Faustina was built in 141 AD. Consists of 6 columns with Corinthian capitals across front and 4 down the sides. Was converted into the Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda in 12th century.

Arch of Titus built in 82 AD, was built by brother Domitian to commemorate Titus’ victories. Was the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Temple of Vesta, built in 193 – 211, one of the most holy buildings in the forum – dedicated to the Roman goddess of fire. The temple contained the Sacred Fire which was guarded by the Vestals, 6 priestesses selected for the job from the best Roman families. Was made up of 20 columns in a circular pattern with an opening in the roof to let out the smoke of the fire.

The House of the Vestal Virgins is the courtyard containing statues of the most important vestals with inscriptions of their virtues on the pedestals.

Arch of Septimius Severus built in 207 AD is a triumphal arch with 3 archways, one of the best preserved monuments from the forum, 68 feet high and 76 feet wide. The abbreviation on the attic story SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus) means it was erected by the senate and people of Rome. The arch celebrates the 10th anniversary of the accession of the emperor Septimius Severus. Lots of bas reliefs of 2 battles with the Arabs and Parthians. Was once surmounted by a four horse chariot bearing the emperor and his son. Triumphal arches were built to honor emperors and generals who were victorious in battles.

Umbilicus Urbis is said to be the ‘navel’ of Rome. The symbolic centre of the city from which distances in Rome were measured. Legend says Romulus had a circular pit dug in the forum when he founded the city. All new citizens to Rome were required to throw in a handful of dirt from their hometown as well as the first fruit of the season as a sacrifice.

Also called the Mundus, it was considered a gate to the underworld. It was opened three times a year to allow the evil spirits of the underworld to escape.

The Temple of Saturn may have been built as early as 497 BC (some dispute!) but was the first temple built in the forum. The state treasury was kept in the temple. Remains are 6 columns across the front of the portico and one down each side.

Temple of Vespasian and Titus, built between 79-87 AD for father and son. There are only three columns left.

 

Long day for our first day. We are all tired and ready for bed. Dinner was supposed to have lots of Gluten Free options for Eric but turned out to be very limited. At least he likes shrimp!

Tomorrow we pick up the car and head to La Spezia.

 

 

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