“Let’s go to Rome“, he proposed.
Two hours later we were on the fast train to the Roman city ~only a 1.5 hr trip~.
To be honest, I wasn’t impressed. Big and impersonal, Rome had to grow on me, specially after a ghastly lunch experience. NEVER and I mean EVER go to a restaurant in a touristy area. It’s always the same story: bad food, steep check. Being a self proclaimed foodie myself, I take my food seriously, so I would normally spend a decent amount of time researching where the locals indulge themselves with magnificent cuisine… but this time around I didn’t do my homework and lunch was a disaster.
Fortunately, round the corner from the trattoria, there it was. Standing tall, breathtaking. I was smitten.
Rome had conquered my heart.
Built more than 2000 years ago (Vespasian began its construction 72AD and his son Titus opened it in 80AD with games that lasted 100 days) it is one – if not the one – of Rome’s most impressive buildings. The entrance is pretty straight forward. There are guided tours, video guides and audio guides- at an extra cost -. Any of these options is well worth the investment because there is not a lot of historical information around the site. The whole Coliseum experience lasts between 45 and 60 minutes… unless of course, you are lucky enough to not be lugging a hungry/thirsty/tired 5 year year old and wish to sit and take it all in.
The entrance ticket to the Coliseum also includes the entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. If you are like me, I had no idea what these were.
Even more so than inside the Coliseum, one can get lost in time whilst roaming amongst the gardens of the Palatine Hill. This is one of seven hills in Rome and one of the most ancient parts of the city. It is said to be where Romulus killed his twin brother Remus and founded Rome in 754 BC. Ruins of huts built by early settlers and of once imperial palaces fill isolated parts of The Palatine which stands right above the Roman Forum. I recommend taking the time to go up and looking at The Forum from above; the view is frankly stunning.
The Forum (or plaza) used to be a marshland which the romans drained and converted into Rome’s marketplace and political, administrative and religious centre. It is home to the ruins of various important ancient buildings and statues.
Once again, in order to bring these places to life, some kind of expert guidance is recommended.
Back on the train, we skimmed through the peaceful Tuscan scenery until arriving back to Florence.
There’s a feeling of belonging. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we’ve been here almost a week or maybe it’s just that we come from a small city and it feels familiar… all I know is that today Roma conquered my heart but Florence still owns my soul.
The standard admission ticket covers The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Children under 18 are free.
Closed: January 1, May 1, December 25