The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Italy: Rome Part IIa - the grand Colosseo

After a night's rest and yummy breakfast in our tummies, we started our Roman expedition with a bang at the Colosseum. Or rather, I should say that we tried to, except that we were met with a couple of guys near the entrance that said we were faced with a queue that had a 1 hour waiting time, unless we joined a tour group for sum of no small amount. We actually seriously considered joining one because we had a toddler on our hands who cannot sit still for even 10 minutes, and also because Rob was interested to have information of what he was looking at. Finally after some deliberation, we decided to save the euros and join the hordes of tourists already in queue. The snaking line indeed looked long, but it wasn't before long we heard a lady announcing that the next English tour was running in 15 minutes time - this tour was much cheaper than the one offered by the touts outside - and that those interested should follow the adjacent empty lane (marked for reserved bookings or tour groups) to buy their tickets at the counter to the left of the ticket window. I'd also seen on the entrance sign that there was also an option to get an "audio tour" for an additional €6, and it directed us down the same lane as the reserved booking/tour group lane. Not wanting to lose our spot in the queue to find out more about these other options, yet also not eager about waiting and wasting time in the queue, we finally decided to head down the adjacent lane to check out these other options. We were glad we did, because we saved a lot of time just by spending an additional 6 euros each for the portable listening device, and we could do the tour at our pace (or rather, what the 2-year-old would allow us) and didn't need to be confined to a tour group. And we didn't need to fork out the price that the touts were asking outside! Thankfully the boy fell asleep in his stroller shortly after we began exploring the ancient amphitheatre, and we could take our time for the following hour.

Colosseo from a distance:

Burning off some energy outside the Colosseum:

The Colosseum structure was amazing to look at. I mean, I was looking at something that was built almost 2000 years ago! It must have been very grand in its heyday, however it was hard not to think and feel a little sad about the cruel sport the amphitheatre was used for.

A panoramic shot consisting of three separated images, showing the interior of the Colossum from the second level (click image for larger size):

Closer look at the hypogeum:

Another panoramic shot of the interior from the opposite side and lower level (click image for larger size):

The view of Arco di Constantino (Arch of Constantine, erected AD 312) from the Colosseum. That's Via Sacra (Sacred Road) running up to the right of the shot, which was the main street of ancient Rome. Check out the tourists swarming like ants:

Templum Veneris et Romae (Temple of Venus and Roma, built c. AD 141) as seen from the Colosseum. This image was taken from the same 'window' as the above image of the Arch of Constantine (Via Sacra is to the left of the shot):

The West Entrance, aka the Gate of Death (dead gladiators and animals were carried away through this exit). Spot the guy pushing the stroller:

We exited the Colosseum and walked up Via Sacra, which proved to be a dead end (it's the exit route from the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill). It was a nice walk nonetheless.

Walking up Via Sacra (the wrong way) towards the Arch of Titus. Tourists were everywhere, and I imagine the streets of Rome would be lovelier in the quiet early morning:

The view of L'Arco di Tito (Arch of Titus, constructed c. AD 82) from Via Sacra:

By the time we'd left the Colosseum area, it was lunch time, so we headed for our next destination down Via dei Fori Imperiali, which is the main road connecting the Colosseum with Piazza Venezia. This wide road is closed off to motor traffic on Sundays, so it was a great place for Zak to go running wild safely. The boy was energised by the hour-long nap in the stroller and was raring to zoom out of his seat! Just walking down Via dei Fori Imperiali was a real treat for the eyes as there were fantastic ancient buildings and structures on both sides of the road, and more Imperial Roman items remain to be excavated in the area.

Looking back at the Colosseum on the wide Via dei Fori Imperiali:

Ancient ruins along one side of Via dei Fori Imperiali road. Panorama stitched from three images (click image for larger size):

The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (Monument of Victor Emmanuel II) which dominates Piazza Venezia. Image is stitched together from three shots (click image for larger size):

Working on these photos has taken me longer than expected, and I still have more to share on what we did that Sunday in Rome, which included visiting the beautiful Trevi Fountain, eating delicious San Crispino gelato, and climbing the romantic Spanish Steps. Stay tuned for Rome Part IIb coming up soon!

1 comment:

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