The weather so far on our trip has been hot, which I like! However, Rome today was a balmy 34 degrees celcius. In full sun, it was even hotter -- a little too intense when shade was scarce.
The bus dropped us off near St. Peter's Square.
Now caffeinated, we made our way through the crowded streets to the Metro, getting another glimpse of St. Peter's Square through the columns as we passed by.
|Carolina, playing in the fountain.|
Having successfully navigated Rome's Metro service, we emerged from the dark station, into blinding sunlight and crowds of people coming and going in front of us. As I stood there outside the entrance, blinking, trying to get my eyes to adjust and get myself oriented, I realized that the hulking shape in front of me was the Colosseum!
Wow! We only had about 5 1/2 hours in Rome, so our sightseeing list had to be trimmed to a few items, and in that moment I was so glad that the Colosseum had made the cut. It is a phenomenal site -- a chunk of history right in the middle of modern-day Rome.
The Colosseum was built in AD 72-80 -- the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire.
Nearby is the Arch of Constantine, from AD 315, which commemorates Constantine I's victory over his rival, emperor Maxentius. The arch stands 21 m high, and is 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep.
|Arch of Constantine|
|Detail of the Arch of Constatine|
|Arch of Titus|
|Close up of the Arch of Titus|
As we exited the Forum, a hulking gladiator called out to us, "Baby, hey baby, I am your dream, baby!". The Fabio look-alike was hoping we'd pay to have our pictures taken with him in his gladiator costume, but we passed up the opportunity deciding instead to escape the crowds, and move on in the direction of the
Pantheon and find some lunch.
But our walk up the Via dei Fori Imperiali took longer than planned as we kept stopping to look at ancient ruins and "newer" monuments and architecture along the way.
|Carolina, caught snapping a shot of more ruins.|
Eventually, we stopped for lunch -- delicious grilled paninis in a little trattoria somewhere off Via del Corso -- and then found our way to the Pantheon. Another wow!
Emperor Hadrian designed the structure in AD 118-25. During its lifetime it has been used as a pagan temple and the Christian church Santa Maria ad Martyres. Parts of it have been taken over the years, such as the gilded roof tiles and bronze ceiling panels.
|Doorway into the Pantheon|
|Inside the Pantheon. |
The walls are 6.2 m thick and include arches that help to distribute the weight.
|Light from the oculus|
Fontana del Moro sculpted by Giacomo della Porta (1575).
Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, topped by the Obelisk of Domitian.
Fountain of Neptune (1574) by Giacomo della Porta.
Carolina stopped for a treat of gelato. While she was inside, I amused myself by reading the signs posted outside the caffe.
Sadly, our time in Rome was winding down, so we set off to meet our bus by St. Peter's Square, finding a quiet and shaded little road to wander along and then crossing a bridge flanked by statues over the Fiume Tevere.
|Looking at St. Peter's|
While I think I preferred my day in Florence overall, Rome held some incredible sights. I hope I get back to Rome someday to see more since we didn't even scratch the surface here today.
After another fabulous, albeit hot and tiring, day I headed poolside once on board the ship, but stopped to take a few shots of the ship's interior first.
Dinner was delicious, again. I chose escargots to start, followed by salad and duck à l’orange. Not sure how I'll go back to normal food!