On October 4 our day started with an interesting hour long walk through the city centre, past the Piazza Novona, the Pantheon, and the Altare della Patria, to the Flavian Amphitheater, aka the Colosseum. There we began another tour with another absolutely delightful gal from The Tour Guy, Lia. Without wasting any time, we went right through the “Gate of Death” onto the arena floor, where Lia described to us in great detail the 450 year history of gladiator battles, animal hunts, and other extravagant and bloody events that took place there. According to written accounts from the time, during the inaugural games, in 80 or 81 BC, more than 9000 wild animals were killed. Thanks to Leah’s vivid storytelling, we could almost imagine ourselves immersed in such grisly scenes.
Here she is explaining how short Roman soldiers were and how they stood in these alcoves with bows and arrows to stop the animals from leaping into the stands:
While almost all the marble finishing were removed/stolen/ hundreds of years ago, there is still enough of the original structure and artifacts to inspire awe.
We strolled along the mezzanine and then exited at the “Gate of Life”. What followed was a rambling walk along the ancient roads and paths of the Forum (the ancient city centre) and then an ascent of Palatine Hill for a spectacular view of the Colosseum, the Forum, and the surrounding neighbourhoods of Rome. All amazing! After the tour ended, we wandered amongst the ruins on Palatine Hill, then descended on the opposite side, towards the Tiber River. Although it was after 3:00 by then, we were able to find an open restaurant in the former Jewish Ghetto, and had our most unusual lunch of the trip (starting with a fried artichoke). We had an Indian waiter who brought us the best dishes of the day! No thinking required on our part.
Another tiring but incredibly rewarding day in Rome!