“Are You Not Entertained?”

This morning we woke up early to start our walk to see the infamous sites of Rome. We strolled across the bridge and led ourselves into the ancient city. After quickly grabbing our Roma pass, our first stop was the Colosseum.

This stunning structure was built in A.D 80, when the Roman Empire was at its peak. The Colosseum’s real name was Flavian Amphitheater, which was used as an arena for gladiator contests. The Colosseum’s size is so impressive! It’s four stories high, 160 ft high, and covers almost six acres. The stadium could hold somewhere between 50-70,000 people.

As we entered the building and looked below us, you could see the underground passages. This was the place where the animals and prisoners were held until battle time. There were stadium like bleachers that surrounded the arches, and slanted upwards from the arena floor.

It was a pretty surreal experience to be in the Colosseum, but as I read about the horrid events that took place there, it really made me think. Here, men and prisoners were put against either animals or one another to their death, and people gathered to watch it. Quite barbaric indeed!

It really is a spectacular building to see though. Just the size of it, is beyond measures. It’s filled with so much history about the ancient civilizations of Rome.

As we continued our tour through the ancient city, we moved next to Palatine Hill. On the way in, you’re greeted by the Arch of Titus. It was constructed in A.D 82 by the emperor to commemorate his brother, Titus, and his many victories.

The Palatine Hill overlooks the forum and is packed with history: from the huts of Romulus to the huge Imperial Palace.

As we continued on, we entered the Roman Forum. This was Rome’s birthplace and civic centre, and where everything important to the civilization occurred. There are numerous churches, arches, half broken columns, and temples throughout the area.

Although we could have stayed there for hours, the sun and heat was really started to get to us, so we continued up to Capitoline Hill to the Piazza del Campidoglio and the Capitoline Museum.

We spent hours in this place admiring the history, statues, art work, and portraits. Of particular interest to me was the Capitoline She-Wolf. According to Roman mythology, the city’s founders, twins Romulus and Remus, were abandoned on the banks of the Tiber River when they were infants. A she-wolf saved their lives by letting them suckle.

Another famous statue is the Capitoline Venus, which is contained in an octagonal room all to herself.

Finally, of particular interest to me was the original but restored statue of Marcus Aurelius on a horse. This is the greatest surviving equestrian statue circa 173 C.E. The bronze statue stands over 4m high.

Throughout the museum there were so many things to look at and admire. It was quite fascinating and we learned a lot to further our interest in ancient Rome.

By the time we left the ancient city, it was close to 2pm and we were both starving. We walked towards the Spanish steps, and stopped at a well known place called Pastifico. Here they cook a few pastas throughout the day and sell them, to-go, for only €4! We ordered one of each that they had available, the gnocchi and something else we weren’t too sure what it was. They were both great, and exactly what we needed.

We took the tram back to our neighborhood to stop for a little drink. We found a local bar where they sell craft beers. They were actually rated #1 in 2010 for best beer bars in the world. We each got a pint to quench our thirst from the heat.

And of course, an afternoon isn’t complete without a gelato. Today, I tried the melon and lemon (you can see I’m really venturing outside of the box), and Daniel had two local favourites: zabione and a hazelnut.

We arrived back at our place for a quick shower and to freshen up before heading out for dinner.

For dinner, we went to L’Antico Moro. They had an set menu available where you could choose either the fish or meat option. I went for the fish and Daniel the latter. To begin with, we both received a bruschetta: Daniel’s was the traditional and mine was a white version, with pepper and pecorino cheese.

Next, Daniel had the tomato sauce pasta with the insanely delish “bacon” and I had the white pasta with mussels.

Our next course was sausage, potatoes, and salad for Daniel, and calamari for me.

We both ended with a light, chocolate cake and an espresso.

The meal was delicious and we were both fully stuffed! As we were walking home, we stumbled across an adorable, craft brew bar which has 12 different, local beers on tap. The neatest part though is that you can choose your beer and they can it on the spot for you.

When in Rome…

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