Being the center of Christianity’s largest denomination, Rome has many interesting churches and home to some of the most beautiful ones in the world. It is advisable to spend at least three nights to visit the Ancient City, where many impressive Roman monuments are still standing.
Summer would be the best time to see Rome, when the temperature is at an average 25°C and the weather is calmer too. But that is also during the tourism peak season so plan your trip early, especially the accommodation part.
The Colosseum was the first attraction on our list of places to visit and luckily going there was simple and straightforward enough. There are only two main metro lines – A or B, much less compared to London’s 11. The Colosseum’s facade was impressive already, as seen from the Colosseo metro station.
If you have imagined it to look like what is shown in the Gladiator movie you are so gonna be disappointed. But it has another side of beauty to be appreciated.
The Colosseum is a hollowed-out marble structure, completed back in 80AD where animals were killed for sport and men were pitted against each other. It was a surreal feeling getting to see the Colosseum in real, it was our most memorable experience in Rome.
If you are staying in Rome for more than 3 days it is highly recommended to get the Roma Pass (€25). The major benefits of the Roma Pass would be the free use of the city’s public transport network, as well as granting the holder free visits to museum and archaelogical sites.
Since the combined ticket of Colosseum with Palatine Hill is already €11 about half the cost of the Roma Pass, it’s only a sensible thing to get the pass. Plus, pass holders get to enter the Colosseum via a special turnstile ignoring the waiting line altogether.
We used the Roma Pass and didn’t have to queue at the turnstile.
During the course of centuries the Colosseum interior has undergone numerous damages that made the complex structure hardly recognizable today. The interior you see today is overgrown with plants and trees.
This was where the wild animals, hoists and trapdoors were released directly into the arena using ramps and stairways. Kinda hard to imagine but there are visual guides around the arena detailing the designs and explaining their mechanisms.
You can view the interior and surroundings of the Colosseum either at the upper or ground level. We didn’t know this at first, so a thorough exploration is needed here.
The armors and weapons used by the gladiators were on display too. Apparently the gladiators were categorized into different classes based on the style of their equipments. For example the popular Samnite would fight with the equipment styled of a Samnium warrior, using a short sword and a rectangular shield. Other gladiator types include the Gaul and the Thracian.
A replica model of the trapdoors showing how the wild animals were released into the arena without the gladiators’ knowledge, objective was to spring surprise attacks.
The roads surrounding the Colosseum are paved with cobblestones. They are quite dangerous to walk on due to the huge gap and pose danger to small kids who run around. I saw a few kids who fell on these rough stones and cried, must be painful!
Walking on the cobblestone road leads you to the Arch of Constatine, a 21m high triumphal arch heavily decorated with parts of older monuments. Like Milan, there are a number of friendship bracelet scammers here as well so beware of them.
I mentioned before the Roma Pass could be used for the combined ticket for the entrance to the Colosseum and another attraction. The latter is the Palatine Hill situated just beside the Colosseum, where it is said to be the home to the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, the mythical brothers and founders of Rome. But to get there, first you need to go pass through the Roman Forum.
A pair of twin pavilions sitting beside the botanical gardens at the Palatine Hill. You can have a prime view of the Roman Forum from here.
There are plenty of orange trees up here with blooming with fruits shaped like Mandarin oranges. Too bad they were not edible, as these trees brought in from Spain meant to be used as ornamental plants.
The Roman Forum as seen from the top of Palatine Hill.