On Our Way to The Forum

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world!. Today we decided to use a Hop-On/Hop-Off bus to navigate around Rome. We used one in NYC when we were last there and it worked great then. It worked just as well today, although the meeting point could be some distance from the attraction.

Our first stop was at the Vatican (where we were yesterday.) We didn’t hop off, just used the stop to take some pictures of Castel Sant’ Angelo. It was commissioned by Emperor Hadrian (he built, or started an enormous number of buildings) as a mausoleum for himself and his family. It was later used by popes as a fortress and castle. It is now a museum.

Rome is a city of alleyways. Of course the Italians call them roads, streets, via’s but they are the width of alleys.

The Trevi Fountain is amazing. The detail in the sculpture is incredible. The fountain, as with many others in Rome, is the terminus of an aqueduct providing fresh water to the Roman citizenship.

Rome is filled with many, many ancient buildings. Here are a few we either walked or Hop-On bussed past.

Nearly everyone knows the general history of the Roman Colosseum. You probably know it is enormous and could hold over 50,000 spectators. You know about the gladiators, animal shows, re-enactment of sea battles. Seeing is believing, believe me

Arches were also very popular, and still are. The holes in the walls are also interesting. One set was used to fasten the marble facade to the stone. The marble was scavenged to make other buildings in Rome. Another set was used to connect the stone blocks together for stability. The clamps they used were iron, which again was scavenged. We are lucky there is anything left.

Above one arch is a painted map of Jerusalem. I cannot find a definitive reason why it is there, but it may be related to the story that the Romans may have sacked the Jewish temple to help pay for the Colosseum.

Here is a selection of photos from inside the Colosseum showing the seating, supports for the wooden floor, which of course was destroyed long ago, either re-purposed, burned for heat, or disintegrated, the seats (the richer you were the lower, and closer to the action, you sat) and catacombs beneath the stage for gladiators, animals and set decorations.

After we left the tour we headed back to our hotel. As we had reservations at a very popular restaurant later we decided to pop in for a snack of bruschetta and french fries. Delish!

And after our refreshments we continued towards our hotel, stopping to inspect some more excavations. These are from the Forum of Caesar and the Forum of Trajan, 46 BCE – ~112 AD.

And dinner at Tonnarello. What can I say? This restaurant was recommended by a friend of Frances’ who has lived in Rome for several years. It has the reputation of being one of the best and “go to” restaurants for locals and tourists alike. The hotel concierge said the line to enter often goes down the block and takes over an hour. The taxi driver needed no more information than just the restaurant name. Having just dined there, I can see why. The service was great, the food outstanding and the experience sublime. (Sublime? Really?? Yes.)

We ordered house rose (for QC) and house red (Montepulciano) for me and were pleased with both. We then ordered our first course, Carbonara and Cacio E Pepe and both were wonderful. Then another round of wine. We then ordered a second course of Polo Ala Romano to split between us.

That is, until a pizza was delivered to the next table. We called the manager over. (Her English was much better than our waitress’ who was lovely, but admitted her limited English.) We asked for our second to be changed to the pizza and lo and behold it worked and came out right and we were so glad. When you are on a roll that just keeps on rolling, go with it!

I normally don’t post food on my travel blog but reserve it for my food blog: abatteredoldsuitcase.com , but this meal was worthy.

Off to Sorrento tomorrow!

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