Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ancient Rome Kicked My Butt

After arriving in Rome yesterday we checked into our hotel. Its in the same building as an apt complex, and only has five rooms. Pretty much only Italians stay here but the room is nice, good bathroom, and its right next to a metro station in a residential neighborhood three stops from Termini.
We decided to go see ancient Rome. Roma Pass in hand (which you can buy at the PT/TI in Rome for €30) we bypassed the massive line at the Colosseum. Rick Steves advice for the win! This place is unbelievable.  You can see the rebuilds but a lot of original as well. The floor in the middle is also gone and reveals the myriad rooms that existed beneath to hold animals and slaves that would fight the gladiators.
The Arch of Constantine sits right next to it and is carved of scenes glorifying him. I call it the I Love Me Arch. Although to be fair, he did make it possible for Christians not to be thrown to the lions anymore so that's good. It was funny to see the cops chasing the illegal sellers. _
Walking across the domus aurea, we went down into Trajan's Market area. Remains of temples, old churches, the curia and a couple more I Love Me arches for Titus and Augustus. It was hot, damn hot. Thank goodness those Roman fountains still work but walking around in that saps your your will do anything but lay there and pant. We were constantly refilling water bottles.
Walking to the Palatine Hill where the wealthy Romans and Senators had their homes, a little kitty cat who "left a gift" in the ruins, decided it wanted to make friends. We saw the house of Augustus (on the very top of the hill, of course!), the huts of the Romuleans and the Museo Palatino which had some cool classical art.
Rome is an interesting place. It owns its past and sells its present based on its past. The pagan old blends with the mystical new and they're forever intertwined. Historians like me blend with the religious pilgrims and they all come seeking truth.
After a well deserved nap, we walked around and found a small osteria with locals to eat. Boy Wonder had a seafood risotto that he loved. I had a four cheese fettucini that was pretty awesome.
Who knows what's in store for tomorrow?

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