Summer Holidays - Rome, the Eternal City


I'm partially sad as I'm writing this last part of my summer holidays. I'll miss recalling all the memories of my trip that I've been sharing here with you but I can't prolong the wait any longer. Here comes the last two days of our stay in Rome, the Eternal City.



Day Three


Having had our lesson after our visit to the Vatican, we decided to start our tour of Ancient Rome as early as possible. After a great breakfast (we'd been having cappuccinos every morning, you can't visit Italy and NOT have one, it's sacrilege!) and equipped with the right accessories (remember the gladiator sandals?), we jumped on the metro and in less than 5 minutes we were staring at the Colosseum gaping. Yes, we were that much in awe.

The sight of that magnificent monument is above and beyond this world. 



Remember on the first post, when I mentioned the queue at the Vatican? Same situation here, only I'd made sure in advance we won't be waiting forever to enter. The main reason we'd purchased our Roma Passes in the first place was because the Colosseum was included in the list of monuments they covered, so once again we skipped the massive queues (we still had to wait but only about 15 minutes, which is nothing compared to the hours people without a ticket had to). 

There was an exhibition about libraries, their history and how they affected not only Rome but every major and important place of the empire which was brilliant, don't get me wrong, just completely out of place. When you visit the Colosseum you're expecting to see and learn more about the lives of the gladiators and the fights that had taken place in the arena. Unfortunately, there was none of that. Not even a gladius somewhere, an armor, a helmet, nothing!


I don't know how many hours we've spent wandering around. We took an immense amount of photos, walked around the main tier enjoying the sun and visited one of the gift shops for the essential souvenirs and gifts to friends. They were selling a gladius we seriously considered buying, but most importantly, it was there that I found my "Lupa Romana" signet ring. My happiness had reached new levels.


Next to the Colosseum are two other monuments, the Arch of Constantine and the Temple of Venus and Rome, right before you take Via Sacra to head either to the Palatine Hill or the Forum. Good thing the Colosseum admission tickets we got with our Roma Passes were covering everything on site.


We didn't go to Palatine Hill as most of it was closed to the public, we walked next of the Arch of Titus and entered the Forum. You know some places are part of history when you wander around and you feel that resonance of energy, of time standing still. That's exactly how I was feeling. I could easily close my eyes and see with my mind's eye the place in all its glory. It was jaw droppingly beautiful and once again I was in awe.


The amount of temples built all around the Forum is a constant reminder of how deeply religious OR how afraid of the gods the Romans were. Temples to Saturn, Castor and Pollux, Vespasian and Titus, Vesta and even one to Caesar have survived the passage of two millennia. It's of no wonder why it is in Rome that another major religion had been founded really. 
I have to admit I wanted to spend more time wandering about the Forum, but I also was the one who couldn't wait to go see a certain bronze statue that to me is the personification of Rome. The famous "Lupa Romana". 


Our next stop was going to be the Capitoline Hill, but not before a quick pause to the Altar of the Fatherland. Seriously, you can't miss that, even if you're not interested in Italy's modern history. The monument is imposing. With its white marble, massive equestrian sculpture and statues of goddess Victory riding quadrigas, you can see it from afar (actually we saw the statues while we were in the Forum and were wandering which building's decoration they were). 


Again we took all necessary photos (it has a restaurant on one level that is overlooking the whole area around, the view from there is just stunning) and then walked to our final destination.


Needless to say the Capitoline Museums are huge and packed with so much beauty that the couple of hours we had before their doors closed for the day weren't enough to roam them fully. And although there was an exhibition of Michaelangelo's original works, all I cared about was to find her. The she-wolf. When we did, after passing through hall after hall of amazingly detailed statues, busts and frescos, she stole my breath away. The statue was much bigger than I had imagined. And so expressive. I stood there looking at it, with a stupid smile on my face, for an immeasurable amount of time. Our whole visit in Rome sealed for ever in my head over those minutes.


I was way beyond happy and equally tired when we reached our hotel.


Day Four


Our last day in the Italian capital wasn't even a full one, as we were departing early afternoon for the UK. The fact that we only had the morning didn't stop us from going out on a walk, after all there was still one place we wanted to see. We headed over to the Spanish Steps followed by some last minute souvenir shopping and of course a gelato. 


Before I close this post, I want again to share some advice with you. 

First of all, if you decide to visit Rome during summertime like we did, then always put suncream on, even on days when you're visiting museums indoors (the sun creeps up everywhere!). Carry with you a thermos with cold water rather than disposable bottles (trust me, you want to have cold water with you all the time) and remember, if you decide to take a taxi from the historical center to any of the airports, then make sure to pick the ones licensed by the city of Rome which have fixed fares (€30 to Ciampino and €48 to Fiumicino). If you decide to use any other form of transport, I will only tell you not to trust the Terravision buses, as the timetable they have online is not up to date (which resulted in us having to get a taxi to be at the airport on time, plus the cashier at their info desk refused to refund the tickets we had bought).

My last piece of advice?
If you're a history lover/junkie like I am, then pick Rome as your next holidays destination. She's going to pay you off with the bucketful! One thing is for sure, I will be going back at some point in the future. Yes. I most certainly will.


Hope you enjoyed this series of summer holidays posts, I know I did. If there is something you would like to know about our stay there (the area we stayed, the hotel, a quick transportation guide), then let me know in the comment section below.


Until next time,

Dora

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