Another two very full days later, I’m leaving Rome with sore feet and a GoPro full of pictures. It really is such an amazing place, you can tell that this is a city with so much history to it. I only really hit the main sites and a few smaller ones, but I could have easily spent another few weeks here and still not seen everything of interest. Overall one of my favorite cities that I’ve visited so far.
The day I was planning on visiting the Coliseum and Roman Forum I woke up to pouring rain, so I spontaneously switched my days around and hit the Vatican instead that day. However that meant that I hadn’t done much research or booked tickets online, so I had about 45 minutes waiting for the Basilica and about an hour for the Vatican Museum. Definitely worth booking your tickets online before you go if you have a time constraint, I didn’t mind too much though since it was a welcome break from all the walking I’d been doing. The Vatican Museums seem to go on forever, just a huge maze of art and sculptures. Took me around 4 hours to go through it, and some of the areas were being worked on so I didn’t see it all. Undoubtedly the highlight of the museums is the Sistine Chapel, seeing photos doesn’t really do it justice. An huge hall completely covered in amazing artwork, even the incredible number of people shoved into this place doesn’t take away from the sight.
The Baths of Cacarella was a place that I was visiting just because I was in the area. But when I went there in the morning before going to the Coliseum and Forum I was really surprised about how big they were. A set of ancient bath houses, they can’t be that big right? Well they are actually enormous and a decent amount of the main structure is still standing, it would have been quite something to see in its day. Big heated pools with two story walls covered in statutes, with pillars along the main hall.
Probably the place I wanted to go the most in Rome, and clearly one of the most recognizable buildings in all of Europe. Standing above the Roman Forum it doesn’t actually look that big, but as you walk closer to it you start to realize why it was called The Coliseum. After standing in line for half an hour or so (that was with buying our tickets in advance) we went through one of the giant archways and entered into this amazing place. The immense scale of the stadium even as ruins is pretty staggering, would have been the most incredible place when it was in use. 50,000 people all yelling and cheering to still quite something nowadays, combine that with gladiators, lions, tigers, bears and a whole lot of killing. It’s no wonder that this place was one of the most defining buildings of the Roman Empire.
Luckily the rain held out while we were inside, the sun even made a well timed appearance as we got to the upper level. From up on the level where the nobleman used to sit you get a great view over the entire stadium.
The Roman Forum, if there was one place in Rome that I would want to revisit it would be here. Unfortunately when we went here the overcast sky decided to turn into pouring rain. You might be able to tell by the pictures that there isn’t exactly much cover in there. Although standing up high above the valley looking over the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum and the Coliseum is such a wonderful sight. Really cool imagining emperors of old riding their chariots through the magnificent arches and through the Forum.
Seeing that I’ve found myself still in central Rome most nights by the time I’ve had dinner. I quite often make my way back to the hostel past places like the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain to see them at night. They are quite pretty all lit up, although I do wish I had gotten a chance to set the Coliseum at night, would have looked really cool.
I think my favorite meal so far here has been at a place about 20 minutes walk from my hostel. A great creamy ham/mushroom carbonara with a side of buttery baked potatoes, then a really nice tiramisu for dessert. Other nice meals have been spaghetti al pomodoro at a little family Italian restaurant close to the Pantheon and of course the several other gelato places I’ve visited.
And here’s a few more photos from around the place