Next on our list was the Coliseum or the official name, Colosseum, the huge amphitheater in Rome! We found it easy enough by using public transportation. Matter of fact, it was easy compared to the other locations in Rome. Even the cab drivers were confused with GPS or were they taking advantage of tourists? The streets can start off with one name and end up being two other names before you get to your location. The numbers were not in any particular order. An address with 200 can end up being next to 35 and then 400. Trees “park” next to vehicles on the streets. I love it!
When I tell you the Colosseum is huge, it’s huge! You cannot miss it! We were smart (again) and purchased tickets online before leaving the US. We did not wait too long in line. Once inside, we climbed the same stairs that the ancient Romans climbed. On one level, we saw various statues and artwork. We exited into the walkways that led around the entire area of the Colosseum. It was crowded but due to the magnitude of the place, there was plenty of room to explore. I made sure I brought my handy red umbrella to shade me from the sun.
It was 100⁰ or more and the sun was out in full force! I was sweating before I stepped out of the shade of the entry way! Due to the Roman heat, there are several fountains in the Colosseum to fill your water jug or mug. I had my personal mug of my own design (Go to Products Page to purchase) and I filled it a few times. I also dabbed my towel to freshen up my face. I wish I had a small spray mist bottle for my face to help cool off! Renae and I took a selfie showing our excitement of being at one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
After a while, the heat will beat you down, if you are not use to it. We headed back to the lower entrance level to wait for our tour to begin. I highly advise purchasing tickets for the Colosseum Underground Tour. We had to wait a few months to purchase them separately. The tour started shortly and we headed through a gated, locked entrance and back upstairs. I felt sorry for an elderly woman that was part of our tour. She was a trooper though. She went everywhere we went. An elevator was available for the lower area but not all areas of the Colosseum. I peeked around a fenced off area and snapped a photo of pieces of the Colosseum possibly being repaired.
The lower level (underground) – is worth every bit of the ticket price! Our tour guide was a very knowledgeable young woman. She showed us the cramp living area where animals, prisoners and gladiators lived together. She stated that death was always around because of the unhealthy living conditions, stench and heat. There was a system for running water and latrines. However, it was not an exciting existence for anyone except the spectators sitting outside enjoying the show.
The guide explained the process in which the Colosseum was flooded to enable ships to battle to the amazement of the crowd. We looked out at the exit where Gladiators walked to perform in the Colosseum. It was amazing to see a reproduction of an elevator that was used to transport animals to the Colosseum arena. Many people were used to operate the elevator. The guide directed us to another set of stairs leading to another level. She told us each area was sectioned off by social standing. The second story we visited was for the middle class.
The magic of the Colosseum was further exposed when we saw the trap door that magically popped up animals, prisoners and gladiators to the main floor of the huge amphitheater. The tour took a depressing moment when we were showed the entrance that led to the morgue for fallen gladiators. As we walked around and listened to the guide, I hid away into a cubby hole to avoid the sun and cool off a little. After I was busted by Renae, I came out of the cubby hole and looked over an edge (slowly because I am afraid of heights) to see the entire inside of the Colosseum. Behind us was the view of Palatine Hill. This was our next stop. With our purchase of the Colosseum tickets, a visit of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill was included.
We left the Colosseum and got turned around and could not find our way to the shortcut for Palatine Hill and Forum. We found a dark-skinned young man and asked him directions. He pretended not to know and even made fun of us to his co-worker that was delivering items on a push cart. His actual words were, “It’s black Americans.” This disturbed me because not only was he darker than us but he considered himself better than us. Before I knew it, the South Side of Chicago came out and I told him he was rude and he understood.
We eventually found our way. Make sure you wear comfortable flat shoes. The cobblestone, which I nicknamed “Break Something,” is not the place to wear cute heels. The Roman Forum has the massive Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. The crumbling, massive monuments are beautiful if you love ancient architecture. This area is where Rome is said to have begun. Hunger, heat and exhaustion got the best of us. We dragged slowly through the area and headed back to the direction of our hotel for something to eat.
After eating, we found another thrift store. Come on! You knew it was going to happen. This was a smaller store and we did not purchase anything. It also contained a lot of 70s clothing. If I had room in my spare suitcase, I would have at least bought one of the men’s hats. I love the style of a man’s fedora! A pair of furry shoes also caught my eye. However, they looked like Bigfoot was missing something. They were hideous. Not my style but I am sure that someone loved them and they were extremely expensive looking.
NEXT: MORE ITALY, LENNY KRAVITZ AND THRIFT STORES!