Friday, October 14, 2011

Day Twenty One - Rome the Redeemer

Today Rome redeemed itself somewhat in my estimation. We started the day very early at the Coliseum for a tour with a company called Dark Rome, which I very highly recommend. The Coliseum itself is mind blowing. It was created in only 10 years. .. Remember the church in Prague that took 600 years to build, the 10 years is slightly overwhelming. In this tour we were lucky enough to leave behind the crowds and actually see the bottom and top level of this structure, which are usually closed to the public. I walked on a small bit of the replica stage and was amazed at just how big the building was and how many people would have been yelling and screaming down at you. I seriously doubt anyone these days would be able to recreate this building as the Romans did. With all our technology they still seem to be somewhat ahead of us. (Now here is an interesting side thought.. the Romans built this in ten years and my house could fit into it 20 times … why then is my house taking so bloody long?)

The structure itself is actually quite peaceful. Everything is symmetrical, everything is oversized and awe inspiring but not at all silly or out of scale. Obviously I can’t say too much about this that hasn’t already been said so I’m going to move onto the Forum.

We wandered through the forum and I was surprising at just how little there is left. Don’t get me wrong, I do realize how old this all is but at one point in the past people thought it was acceptable to destroy any building not a church, to use for materials. I was sad that such an important part of not only Italy but also the world’s history was taken by perhaps one indivuals signature granting quarry rights.

Have a look at the two pictures above - one is a reproduction on what this building would have looked like and then what it now looks like. The three arches you can see are actually one of the side walls of the original structure, the main aisle is actually larger again by a third.

Another thing that surprised me is just how quickly the Roman Empire was built; if you look at the maps you can see just how far the Roman Empire reached at their height of power.

Now usually I say we wandered around the city relaxing as we viewed the sites but in Italy everything is a bloody long way away and you are way to concerned about not only being hit by cars and scooters but watching where you are stepping because I don’t think they owned a spirit level when creating the lovely cobbled stones streets. So we didn’t wander we hiked and saw a few palazzos, Piazzas, Basilicas and Churches but most astounding for me was the Pantheon.

This may well be my breathless with the past moment because I loved this building. Its heaven for not only its architecture with its lovely domed ceiling, the kick ass columns at the entrance and the extravagant use of marble but this was one of the buildings Rome used as a way to say “you are nothing compared to the might of the Roman Empire” and that is exactly how you feel when you actually walk through the giant pillars and the ridiculously high ceilings.

There was one very easy bucket list item to get started on and that’s to make myself sick on Italian ice cream and of course we got a nice early start. Both hubby and I have agreed that copious amounts of testing are needed before deciding whether it is the best in the world.

Dinner was in this very cute little restaurant down a tiny little side street. There is one part of the city that is renowned for their restaurants and bars so you get there, wander down the street until you find something you like the look of. Most of them have maybe 20 seats in the place and most of those are outside so you can sit and eat and watch the world (tourists) go by. We had olives stuffed with meat, battered fried vegetables and a lovely pesto and oil pasta. Hubby ordered a giant beer but the waiter got confused so not only did hubby get his giant beer but also I got a huge carafe of red wine. After way too much red wine we called it a night and wandered home along the river. Tomorrow is going to be busy – we have two tours - Crypts and Catacombs and the Vatican … We are also going to try and see the Trevi Fountain… Sorry feet, you can rest in Dubai.

Oh yes, the picture below I had to add. This just shows how much my darling husband loves and adores me. He decided to make me a toasted sandwich … only problem he forgot. When he finally remembered and brought this back red faced all I could do was laugh. Let me tell you we got some very strange looks from the other diners.

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