The Colosseum and the Roman Forum

Today was to be yet another big day…the Colosseum!  We caught the B line Metro and got off at the Colosseo stop.  Did you know that Rome has only two Metro lines?  That’s not many for a city of 2.6 million.  It’s not that they don’t want more lines, it’s just so hard to build them here.  The problem is that literally all of Rome is a vast archeological site.  Anywhere you dig you run into artifacts and the digging must stop so that everything can be examined and cataloged.  Very much like Athens.

Immediately as you exit you see it…THE Colosseum!  It’s huge and amazing!


Last time Mona and I visited we didn’t have enough time to go inside…we had plenty of time no for an inside visit…so we joined the throngs of people in the Vomitorium to queue up for tickets.  Yep…it really is named the Vomitorium.  So named because the Colosseum is designed to spew out its 50,000 spectators in as little as fifteen minutes!  (Right, Linda L?)


Just standing in this line is a thrill as you get an up close look at the incredible engineering of this massive structure.  Massive arch after arch…holding up millions of pounds of concrete, bricks, and granite.  It’s mind boggling!  And did you know the Colosseum was built by slaves?  About 70 AD a pesky kingdom would not yeild to the Romans’ simple demand of all conquered lands: “Add our emperor god to your list of gods.”  Simple, right?  Not for the Kingdom of Judea, so the Romans tore down their temple and enslaved the Jews and brought them to Rome.  The slaves’ first task was to build the Colosseum.  Thus began the Jewish Diaspora.


Once we got our tickets we could finally go inside inside!  Incredible!  Reminded us so much of Busch Stadium that we could imagine the vendors, “Bud, Bud Light, Bud Select, waaaterrr!”


We walked around on three different levels…amazed….simply amazed.  This all used to be covered in white marble.  And there used to be canopies on top, manned by sailors to keep the spectators cool.


The picture above shows the basement where all the gladiators, beasts and victims waited their turn to be in the big show.  You can also see the recreated floor showing where the action would have taken place.  There were elevators (seriously) bringing the animals and participants up to the main floor from the basement.  Beasts here included lions, bears, tigers, hippos, elephants, alligators and anything else the Romans thought might be fun to play with.
I lost track of how much time we spent inside, but finally it was time to crawl away and find some lunch.  After some antipasit and wine we were ready to go again….now to The Roman Forum!


The Forum was the centerpoint of Roman political, social and religious life.  It was all there….temples, tributes, the Senate, palaces…along with souvenier sellers, pickpockets and hookers.  You could get it all at Forum!


Then, the Forum was all white and beautiful with statues everywhere.  Today, it can seem to be piles of stones and rocks…but with a little imagination it all comes back to life.  It’s indeed amazing to think that you’re walking where Julius Ceasar walked…along with Mark Anthony, Cleopatra, Caligula and a host of others that we’ve only read about.


Some buildings have only a column or two left behind to mark their spot in history.  Others stand fully intact save for the marble that has been stripped away.


It’s hard to believe all this was built thousands of years ago…while America was still in the stone age.


All too soon it was time to take our weary feet and leave the Forum.  Up the hill we trudged…headed for the Metro stop.  But wait, there was one more little mystery for us to see.  On the sidewalk were huge garbage bags with people in them.  What the heck???  After a bit of writhing the garbage bag was lowered and this was what you saw:


This guy is easily two feet off the ground.  Two feet!  One hand is on top of the post, one hand is outstreched.  There is nothing below him but sidewalk two feet down.
That was enough for us!  Headed back to our hotel for some wine and opera!!!

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