Let’s start our walk with the Romans in, where else… Roma.
Now that you have decided a trip to the Italian peninsula to walk with the Romans is in your future, it’s time to choose the places you want to see. It may seem like that would be an easy thing to do. Not so much! There are just so many sights and not enough time for you to see everything.
Why Rome? To keep it simple, it’s where it all began for the Roman Empire. This is where the foundations of law, art and culture for future western civilizations were laid.
To simplify it even more, Rome is an amazing living history lesson. The old city lets you walk with the Romans of past centuries along the via they once did. In doing so, you also become part of that history.
With that said, you need to start somewhere. Roma, The Eternal City, is a great place to begin your adventure. Rome is a must see if you think this may be your only trip to Italy. Skipping Roma is like skipping the African elephants while on safari in Kenya. Sure you saw the rhinos, lions and hippos but, you’ll have missed the big one. Trust me, you’ll kick yourself later.
It’s very exciting to get the first sight of the Colosseum. Depending on which direction you walk towards this iconic landmark, it’s an unmistakable silhouette that shows itself from a long way out.
The effect of seeing the Colosseum from such a distance is that it builds the anticipation until you are finally standing directly below the arches of the outer walls.
My first impressions of the Colosseum were somewhat surprising. In my head I imagined it to be bigger. Yah, I said it. Don’t get me wrong, it is big and the fact that it was built almost 2000 years ago just makes what the Romans did that much more incredible. Sure, sure, they had lots of cheap and free labor to do it all, but what they built is a true wonder.
Time has left undeniable scars on the colosseo of our time. Wind, rain and earthquakes along with wars, human traffic and pollution have shaped the Colosseum to what we see today.
It’s hard to imagine how beautiful the colosseo must have been back in 80 AD before time took its toll on this limestone creation. I suppose though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For those unfortunate souls that had the view of the Colosseum from the center stage of the arena, the beauty of craftsmanship wasn’t high on their list of concerns.
The view from inside the Colosseum is where you can truly begin appreciate the scope of what the rulers of the day had created.
The construction techniques and materials used are on display everywhere you look. What surprised me was how much of the structure was made of bricks and mortar. I guess I just assumed it was constructed of well placed blocks!
Standing on the upper deck looking down into the arena, you just can’t help feeling somber for those who fell victim to the brutality of the games.
The intricate hallways and holding pens below the stage would have been a horrifying staging area for the people and beasts waiting for their time to fight or die.
These days the most ferocious animal you’ll see in the Colosseum is the odd feral cat sunning itself on a ledge just out of the reach of humans. You may however come face to face with some cranky old tourist who has been waiting in line far too long in 30º C temps. They tend to lose their sense of humor easily when they realize they still have 1/2 an hour before they get in!
All in all it’s well worth waiting in line to explore the the Colosseum for yourself. It is one of those bucket list experiences to check off.