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Rome 2

Adorable Chick

ITALY, GREECE & MONTENEGRO Diary : Day 15 - 16th May 2018

(Continuing from ROME 1..)...Another day in this beautiful city that radiates scents of its historical in every corner. We had a long list of places scheduled for the day. After a breakfast at our airbnb, we set out that morning at 8 am and boarded a bus no. 85 from the Taranto Lugo stop which was at a 3 minutes walking distance from our house. Couldn't ask for more. The day’s transport pass came handy.

It was exhilarating to stand in front of one of the seven wonders of the world - the Unbeatable Roman Colosseum. All these years we had just seen it in pictures. We couldn't wish for a brighter day. The atmosphere around the Colosseum was just splendid. The tourist crowd was immense. We produced our tickets at the counters and queued up with the others. The lines were long and split according to the tours each one opted for. Our group had around 16 people and after being greeted by our specific guide, we were requested to wait our turn.

The biggest ever amphitheatre could easily fit more than 80000 people at a time. It took around 8 to 10 years to build the entire structure and was completed in 80CE. It was initially called the FLAVIAN AMPHITEATRE , the name COLOSSEUM only fell much later. It is said that emperor Vespasian spent all the wealth he won after conquering Jerusalem on building this magnificent game arena. Going by its capacity, it had around 80 entrances to welcome people. We were totally stumped to hear that there was no usage of concrete or cement in its construction, stones and rocks were shaped and fitted one upon the other and stapled together with Iron pins.

We were all set to take a guided tour of the 3rd & 5th ring. The tour lasted 90 minutes and was superb! We could visualise how the gladiators would have actually made their appearance on the centre stage for their fights. The guide’s explanation took us back in era when the combat between men and also the combats between men and animals were a big hit. The lives led by these fighters was not easy and it was sad to know that most of them did not have families due to their commitment. We walked behind the guide as he led us upward covering each floor until we reached the third. Apart from enjoying the perfect inner views of this amphitheatre, we relished views of the old parts of the city.

Tidy Desk

The Centre stage, which is now broken, fortunately provides a clear view of the underground portion where different wild animals were once upon a time caged. It was just nerve racking to hear the stories. The wild animals would be released at random to fight the gladiators once the show began. Unfortunately, people flocked the theatre to see Bloodshed. The prestigious watched the show from a close distance, while the poor literally climbed walls to get to the top seats. Today, Visitors can also take an underground tour, which we skipped due to lack of time. I couldn't wait to get to the 5th ring.

Our ears were filled with many more stories which our minds stood visualising. Our tour soon ended. We walked around the ground floor of the amphitheatre, still mesmerised by the erstwhile stories. The slots provided for wild animals right below the centre stage sent shivers down our spine. Parts of the colosseum are today utilised as a museum displaying items used thousands of years ago. Walking past the greenery in front of the Colosseum, we reached our next point of interest - THE ROMAN FORUM / PALENTINE HILL.

Our Colosseum ticket enabled free visit to the Forum and the hill. The ticket is valid for 2 consecutive days from the date of the first entry to either. This talks of the amount of history to be grasped on a single visit. We joined a long queue of people to gain access to this ancient wonder. Covering nearly 5 acres of land is the archeological site - the ROMAN FORUM ( as it is called today ), which was the main hub of the ancient Roman City, around 3000 years old, filled with markets & market squares, unique structures including temples, government buildings and administrative offices, where each of them is filled with loads of awesome sculptures. The remains and ruins fascinate us even today.

As we collected our map and walked down the paths, the splendour of the ancient city oozed out of every corner. With the remains of The Arch of Severus, The Arch of Titus, The Arch of Constantine, The temple of SATURN, Temple of Venus, Temple of Vesta, Temple with four coloumns, Basilica of Maxentius and many more the Roman Forum is today one of the biggest open air museums. It is believed that Romulus , the founder of ROME city, was buried here.