Ancient Rome

Today was all about exploring ancient Rome and we did it with 21,000 steps. The soles of my feet don’t hurt anymore, I am getting used to this lifestyle. Like I have stated at another time, I so wish that I could remember more from the World Architechure class I took a couple of years ago in California. I recognized names of monuments, but not exactly what about it! So frustrating that school today works like this. You learn for the exam and then forget once you pass the exam.

It was great that we had a tour guide for Colosseum! She was great and showed us the dungeon levels and the top levels which are restricted and only for groups. Exclusive. Very interesting too! More than 50% of the Colosseum is gone and none of the seatings are left. They have tried to reconstruct it in one place. You could not see the tunnels going around the whole amphitheatre under the seatings. 50,000 – 75,000 said the guide and all of them could be evacuated within 15 minutes. Crazy! In the dungeons where 15 rows where animals and props were kept. There were lots and lots of mechanisms to take up animal cages and scenery to the stage floor which had as many “trap doors”. The floor was made completely of wood and that’s why none of it remains after ~2000 years. The holes in the walls all around the amphitheatre was explained by one of the group members. The big blocks were held together by iron clamps, and during times of need they were looted and left were big holes. Makes sense. The gladiators didn’t live in the dungeon (like I thought for some reason), but in baracks which were connected with the dungeon level via tunnels. Ludus Magnus was one barack where they lived and was a ruin close by. I am sure she said much more, but I can’t remember it now. If you go to Rome, book a tour, just walking around doesn’t give much more than a spectacular view. Here is a pretty good spehere picture I took.

After the 75 minute long tour we were hungry and had lunch at a restaurant nearby called Naumachia, nothing super special (the pizza at the other place the other day was much better), but I do think we sat on a table next to a couple of celebrities, or at least one. I recognized the British woman. But it took me a long time before I realized who she looked like. Cat Deelay, the host of So You Think You Can Dance. I am not 100% it was her, but she and the man she was sitting with got nervous when they saw Jesper’s gigantic camera, haha!

We then entered Palatine Hills and The Forum which was included in our Colosseum ticket. We walked around in there for hours. It was a big park with so many ruins! And since it was so big, the people in there were scattered, so it felt peaceful to walk around in there. It was warm (21C), clear sky, it was perfect! I think we discussed Palatine Hill (Hill of Palace, where emperors lived) in the course because I recognized names, but not much more). It was very pretty anyway. But I have to admit that the information plates where not very informative.

The Forum, a very famous place in ancient Rome, was in the same park. I remember the Forum being a place of big importance and that was clearly visible by how many big monuments there were. I know I have been in both Westminster Abbey and St. Peter’s Basilica, but when I saw the half that remained of the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, I truly had a moment of awe! The arches were huge when you saw it as a section! How could they build like that? (I had the same line of questions while seeing those other two too (and others in Europe))

We then went for ice cream at the Magnum shop we found yesterday. There you could design your own ice cream. Super fun concept and super fancy ice creams! I had a vanilla ice cream with white chocolate coating and tried cherry, meringue, crispy gold as topping, with milk chocolate drizzle. Yummy! We then walked around a bit around Piazza di Spagna, window shopping and then sitting down to eat dinner and back to the apartment.

Tomorrow we are picking up a rental car and will have it until we leave on Tuesday. So our big plan for tomorrow is Pompeii!! I have wanted to see it since I was like ten, so this is kind of a dream come true! I am so excited!! We will also look at Naples while we are down there, probably find a cosy restaurant.


A touristy day

My left foot hurts pretty bad, not under, but on top! It hurts all the time, but sometimes it gets really bad and I almost stumble because it feels like the skin on top of my foot is peeled off, except there is nothing visible on the foot. It is super weird and a fairly big bummer. I will survive, and a little pain is not gonna stop me from enjuying this vacation! I untied my shoelace after dinner and then it got kinda okay.

19,600 steps today (accumulative ~58,000), even though we didn’t leave the apartment until 1pm. Since we were gonna stay out longer today for some night time photography, we decided to spare our feet and sleep a little longer today. We made lunch, canneloni, planned the day and went out.

Our first thing was to print the voucher for Colosseum. It took us a long time to find a place to print it and we were redirected from several tourist information centers who just sent us to another one. We finally find a place, the guy inside only spoke Italian, but it worked out and we have now the voucher. It says on the voucher that it MUST be printed, and that it won’t suffice with a mobile device. I have read that before, but I don’t want to take any chances this time.

Our next stop for the day was The Museum and Crypt of the Capuchins (Convento dei Frati Cappuccini). Since the Capuchins Monks are a current religious group, the museum kinda felt like a try of conversion. I did not find the museum particuarly interesting, but I learned a few things, that for example Capuchins means small hoods (because the monks and friars had small hoods). The crypt was why we went there. Several rooms with skeletons. We saw the one in Paris and thought it could be cool to have seen something similar in Rome. But no, nothing similar at all. In Paris the catacombs were used as burial sites since diseases were spread in the cematary’s. But here, the bones of previous monks (around 4,000 it said) and Christians were placed in architectural designs. For a crypt, it felt weird that it was aboveground with windows. It also felt really tacky to “glue” skeletal parts on the ceiling and on the walls. It felt disrespectful and honestly a lot crepy! If you compare it to the catacombs in Paris where they just stored the skeletons of, I can’t remember, but MANY, deceased ordinary people. Sure, there were some formations, but it was different. We were not allowed to take photos in there. But use Google, you will find something on how it looked!

We then walked on to the Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti). Like with the Trevi Fountain, there were too many people there. And our last stop in the daylight was Hard Rock Cafe. We had burgers, Jesper ordered a couple of drinks, we shared a desert and got our 18th glass. I can’t believe I have been to 18 Hard Rock Cafés around the world. Crazy.


It then got dark, and Jesper wanted to try his photographing skills. We first walked to Fontana di Trevi. There were as many people there in the dark as during the day. It was pretty though, and I got some good photos. Jesper was too tired to look at his more closely.

We then walked to Forum Romanum, took some pictures there and lastly walked to Colosseum. It is hard to take good pictures in the dark. But it was pretty there. I am really excited for the tour we are doing there tomorrow.