Emily and I had a list of “must see” monuments and “would like to see” monuments. Because we are awesome, we saw all the things. On our second day we started at the Colosseum.
The metro stops right across from the North side of the Colosseum (the most well-preserved portion), and I can’t tell you how awesome it was to step outside and have my entire filed of vision consumed by this colossal structure. It was my favorite moment of the trip.
We opted to skip the guided tour, and we were wise to do so. The line wasn’t too long to get ticket, and we hardly waited at all getting in. Plus, it was tight getting around the inside of the Colosseum and being in a tour group would have been a nightmare. Instead of a formal guide, Emily and I downloaded Rick Steves (our boyfriend) and let his sweet voice guide us through the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Did you know that the construction of the Colosseum and the Gladiator games were politically motivated? It’s much easier to deal with hoards of starving masses when you give them excitement and the thrill of deciding whether a man lives or dies. Classic misdirection. In ceremonies that christened the new Colosseum, over 2,000 men and 9,000 animals died. They had to spray perfume to try to mask the smell of blood, but that was probably about as effective as emptying a can of air freshener in the bathroom after a big fat number two.
Unfortunately, the third level was close for construction. I guess I’ll have to come back again.
After we crawled over every open section of the Colosseum, we walked through the Roman Forum. Again, Rick Steves whispered sweet nothings in our ears as we marveled at the ruins. We learned a bunch of entertaining facts that I’ve now mostly forgotten, but I’ll never forget how tiny this expansive set of ruins made me feel:
We had to climb a lot of steps to get this view. WORTH IT. Lots of cool arches and fairly well-preserved buildings, considering their age. (They must use eye cream)
We also saw some cool fountains. Rome is all about the fountains. And the obelisks. Freud would have a field day.
And let’s take a moment to appreciate the Romans for immortalizing this sexy strip-tease:
Near the end of our tour through the city, I almost cried tears of joy when we came across what I can only describe as a cat sanctuary. It’s a smaller set of ruins not accessible to tourists–I believe it’s the ruins of the theatre where Caesar was stabbed–and now it’s populated by adorable cats. For those of you who remember the stray cat incident of 2007…know that I learned nothing from it and I still tried to pet the cats. They were all smart enough to stay just out of reach of tourists. But look how precious:
We also saw…the art museum building? I have no clue, but it was big and white and had a lot of columns and it was awesome. And then we went to the Pantheon. Also very cool. And free! That’s a bonus–more money for gelato.
At the end of the day, we walked another 10 miles, so we had to fuel up accordingly. Of course, we ate more wonderful Italian food, drank more wonderful Italian coffee, and squeezed in more wonderful Italian dessert. It was a good day.
Now I’ll anticipate your questions and answer them here: Yes, Rome fed me the best cappuccino I’ve ever had (but not that one); Yes, I ate that whole pizza (excluding some crust) and though it was not the best pizza I’ve ever had, it had outstanding mozzarella cheese, so that made it pretty damn good; Yes that is a cannoli but no, it wasn’t the best I’ve had–though the ricotta was on point (do you sense the cheese pattern?); Yes, that was the best gelato I’ve ever had–coconut and mango here, cheery and pistachio the day before; Yes, that was the best tortellini I’ve ever had (home-made pasta!); and Emily has a candle in her dessert BECAUSE IT WAS HER BIRTHDAY! I think she had an okay day.