Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Europe Trip 2010, Part 7: Ancient Rome

The morning of our first day in Rome we left our hotel, The Westin Excelsior, early in the morning to do the "Caesar Shuffle" as Rick Steves calls it.

The "Caesar Shuffle" is a tour of Ancient Rome -- the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum.


Quick note: I picked up a copy of Rick Steves' Rome 2008 for free on Paper Back Swap. BEST guide book ever! It helped us so much and I was able to read his "tours" at all the major sites. I joked to the Mr. that he didn't need an audio guide because I was his audio guide!



We took the metro straight to the Colosseum. Even on first glance, it was very impressive.


We bought a Roma Pass, skipped the lines, and then we entered the massive Colosseum. Breathtaking!


We were so impressed by the sheer size, the age, and how technologically advanced the Colosseum is.


It was cool to see the old artifacts like fan graffiti, gambling dice, and ancient drink tickets, and decorative columns.


It was easy to image how the Colosseum would have looked it's hay day -- the Emperor, the Gladiators, the animals, the Vestal Virgins, and the hoards of people.


I just kept thinking, how could the Romans build something so big and lasting without the technology we have today?


After the Colosseum we walked to the Arch of Constantine. Constantine was the Emperor who legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire and completely changed the course of modern history. Amazing.


Next we used our Roma Pass to get into Palatine Hill, the Beverly Hills of Ancient Rome.

On Palatine Hill we saw the Roman Emperor's Palace, Augustus's house, the huts of Romulus and Remus...


And the the Emperor's stadium.


Apparently Palatine Hill used to be stunning. It was complete with frescoes, fountains, statues, pillars, and more. Now it's mainly rubble, but still so cool to see (especially for a history geek like me).

From Palatine Hill we also looked out on the old chariot race course, Circus Maxims (think Ben-Hur).


And we looked back out at the Colosseum. You can see why the views from Palatine Hill made it the posh zip code in 100 A.D.


Then we headed down to the Roman Forum. The old city center -- now mainly ruins.

I read Rick Steves Forum tour to The Mr. as we toured the old temples, government buildings, and much more.

I just loved seeing the Roman ruins. We saw...

The Temple of Antonius Pius and Faustina...


The Arch of Septimius Severus...


Caligula's Palace...


The Temple of Saturn...


And so much more!

Even though the Roman Forum is mainly rubble now, but it was cool to imagine how it used to look. One thing that's still 100% in tact are the roads. It's crazy to think that Caesar walked on those very roads.


What blew my mind is that Rome had 1.2 million people before the fall of Rome. When Rome fell and the barbarians smashed the aqueducts in 400-something A.D. the population was reduced to the tens of thousands and the Roman Forum was covered in dirt for centuries. Just incredible to the turns history takes.


We spent about 6 hours total touring the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Forum. We were hot and exhausted, so we went back to the hotel to rest a bit.

This was our first day in Rome, and we quickly realized that Rome was hot, hot, hot. Like seriously, hot. Like I can't believe that a week ago I was freezing my tail off in Munich, hot. And did not have near enough warm weather clothes (e.g. you may have noticed me wearing the same black and white dress in Florence and in Rome). So we decided to walk from our hotel to H&M to buy a couple of dresses for me.

On the way to H&M we got trapped in a crazy thunderstorm near the Spanish steps and we got drenched!

(Look at the ominous sky!)


I mean we got really drenched. Was actually kind of fun and romantic being out in the hot rain. Until suddenly it started to hail. Here's how I looked while we hid under a hotel parking area waiting out the hail.


Eventually it let up and we finally made it to H&M where I bought two cheap, cute dresses that you'll see in the next post, which incidentally another Rome post!

Just joining the Europe recaps? See them all here.

19 comments:

Monique said...

These pictures are amazing!! Wow, what a trip.. :)

Mrs. Lopez said...

Oh me and my husband want to go to Rome so badly!

Jess said...

I'm loving this!!

It's funny, because I wasn't a fan of History Class....... those books were written to be so boring. Yet, I *LOVE* going to places and seeing it.

Brittney @ ourpovertywithaview.com said...

Did you guys take photos with the actors dressed up as gladiators? We thought they were ridiculously hilarious!!

Squirmy said...

I love Rome! Seeing you're pictures makes me really, really want to go back! Looks like you had a fantastic time.

Chardonnay said...

I did this exact day, seeing the exact sights on June 3! I love seeing your descriptions, esp. "the Beverly Hills of Rome" :) I experienced two of those fantastic downpours - one in Venice and one in Rome! They're intense!

Belle said...

Wow! So much cool stuff to see! The rain photo made me giggle a little because I feel like during travel something like this inevitably happens to us. Keep the recaps coming!

Hannah @ The New Black said...

I am SO jealous of you two. This looks like the best trip ever. I have to bookmark your posts to refer back to for when we go next Spring! Can't wait to hear more. ☺

Sweet Simplicity said...

I recently read a series by Francine Rivers that took place in Rome. I would love to visit one day. SO much history.

Lil' Woman said...

Beautiful pics!! :)

Kelsey @ Seattle Smith's said...

The Romans absolutely did so many things right with their amazing structures! What fun!!!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

ROME looks amazing!!!

Kassie said...

These pictures are just gorgeous! I'd love to see the history there one day.

prashant said...

I'm loving this!!
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Tiffany said...

Gorgeous! It looks like y'all had the most amazing time!

Jessica said...

WOW! your trip looks AMAZING!! I lived in Paris for a bit and Florence was my FAVORITE weekend destination! It looks like you guys had a great time :)

Meant to be a mom said...

Wow, this is amazing. I wish I could go. Really I do. One day I am definitely going to go on a huge European vaca. It looks like Rome was very interesting and fun to go to.

The Conway's said...

So fun!
We are moving to London (for 6 weeks) in March and I would love to see what places are MUST SEES!
Please email ashconway (at)gmail(dot)com
Thanks in advance

Nicole said...

reminds me of the movie Jumper... :)

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