When in Rome… exploring the Ancient Heart of the Roman Empire

Rome is truly a smorgasbord of history – find a panoramic point and you can survey architecture through the ages – literally. From the old Romans ruins to the grand domes of the Basililicas. There are countless beautiful piazzas (piazzi? piazzae?). I was quite glad we had left Rome until last to visit – had we visited Rome first then other European cities may have seemed less impressive, but Rome was certainly the crescendo.

We explored the Roman Forum which is the amazingly complete ruins  (well, they ARE ruins, but some bits are still standing and it gives you a glimpse into what a Roman city would have looked like – nay not “a Roman city” but the very heart of The Roman Empire!). I tried to imagine being alive in the roman empire and going into town to meet your friends on a Saturday morning, and this is your local town centre!

And behind this is Palatine Hill which has the ruins of a grand palace. Palatine Hill was my husband’s favourite part as it was breezy and shady, but to be honest by the time we got here I was fried, cooked, and burnt. It was a lot of walking in heat of around 33-35*C and even carrying an umbrella for shade, a fan for a breeze, and water for hydration, I was by this point the colour of a tomato and getting a bit worried about passing out or getting heat stroke. We sat in the shade for a while to cool down and watched two lizards chase each other.

We enjoyed the views of Circus Maximus which is a large grassy amphitheatre where they used to do chariot races.

Now onto the Colosseum. This was a grand old piece of architecture, which was used for gladiatorial games and animal hunts, watched by an audience of around 50,000 people! It is very well preserved and if you go inside you can get a much better look. The floor under the stage is missing so you can see down to the tunnels under the floor which the gladiators used to use (the stage door entrance, if you will). Apparently when it was built it would have been covered with marble – difficult to imagine now!

Overall despite not being a history buff at all, I was impressed with the historical ruins, churches, and grand old buildings in Rome. If you are into history or architecture (or just pasta!), you will enjoy it!

Next blog: Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Previous blog: Rome for Lovers


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