Ancient Rome. The amount of history, facts and figures, and architecture that is still intact or in partial ruins. Tales and stories of fact and fiction, what is truth and what is romanticized through the years. Although many truths are brutal and hard to imagine the reality. The architecture alone and the amount of it is overwhelming.
This is it. This is thee Colosseum. The original golden arches – 80 of which were entrances which provided a quick entry or exit for upwards of 55,000 spectators. The Colosseum also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was commissioned in AD 72 by the Emperor Vespasian and was completed by his son Titus in AD 80.
Vespasian ordered the Colosseum to be built on the site of Nero’s palace, to dissociate himself from the hated tyrant. His aim was to gain popularity by staging deadly combats of gladiators and wild animal fights for public viewing. Massacre was on a huge scale. (from rome.info)
188 meters long and 156 wide, that would be colossal!
The cross is placed where the Emperor’s seat was so many years ago. In the afternoon shadows you can get an idea of the scale of the Colosseum by the tiny outlines of the people in the arches.
The Roman Forum. If you look up forum in the dictionary you get many different meanings. One of the more current meanings is an internet discussion group. Today it might be in virtual form, but the concept is still the same as the original forum as a place for people to gather and discuss ideas.
Initially this area was swampy marshland that was drained and built on which became the most important center for political and social activities. It has been called the most celebrated and historical meeting place in the world.
There is so much to see and learn here that you might want to take a guided tour if you are not already in a tour group. We downloaded some free podcasts from Rick Steves to listen to as we walked through the Colosseum and the Forum and this was a big help. Even if you aren’t in Rome and want to learn more, you could still listen to the podcasts.
Temples, columns, basilicas, areas which were former markets and busy public spaces. The Temple of Caesar, the stories of the Vestal Virgins the historic center of Roman public life all in the forum area.
Even if you are not interested in ancient Roman history you can admire the architecture and the skill and detail that went into building these structures and what remains of them today.
Excavation and learning still continues as in later years the area was abandoned and covered in with dirt and used a pasture. There are layers of ruins and discoveries from different eras throughout time.
One of the first roads ever built shown below. There is not a lot of information or signage or direction about the area so even with a map we did find it difficult to find our way around. There is much more to see such as up at Palatine Hill and other sites of ruins throughout the city.
If you learn a little or a lot it is a very humbling experience to walk the same cobbled streets of ancient history.