Friday, August 8, 2014

A Stroll Around the Forum

On our late spring stay in Rome, two stops were at the top of my wife's list of places to visit.  One was the Vatican and the second was the Colosseum.  After a good night's sleep following a long journey from the states, we planned to make our way down to the Colosseum for our first full day in the city.  Of course, she was in for a surprise when there was much more to see than simply the Colosseum. 

Our small hotel was midway between the Vatican and Forum just off the Piazza Navona.
Piazza Navona
From the hotel we struck out in a generally SE direction bypassing the Roman ruins of Largo de Torre Argentina.  This square escaped earlier demolition due to the discovery of four Republican Roman temples and Pompey's theatre.  It seems to have been deemed as sacred ground and preserved.  Only a few blocks from the hotel and already a Roman ruin set-aside. 
Largo de Torre Argentina
Next stop was Trajan's Column and forum.  As seen from the second photo, the storm clouds were rolling in over Rome.
Trajan's Forum
Trajan's Column
As we got our first glimpse of the Colosseum, the clouds were dark and heavy.
Colosseum
We queued up in the long line and made our way into the Colosseum.
Queuing up at the Colosseum
With ticket reservations purchased beforehand, it was not long before we found ourselves inside the massive stadium.  Inside, the tours and visitors were thick.  Fortunately, most tour groups made a quick once around and off they went.  We utilized an audio podcast to assist in guiding our way around the structure.


Leaving the Colosseum, the rain clouds opened up and drenched the tourists.  The vendors, whom only moments before, were selling trinkets immediately pulled umbrellas out for a quick sale.  We had planned for rain and had our own umbrellas ready for action.

The cloud burst lasted only about ten minutes, after that, the skies cleared and our stroll continued.

Before entering the forum grounds, we walked the perimeter to scout the best plan of attack.  From the northern end, we found a spectacular overlook with the structures of the Forum sprawled below.  
Forum
 The Arch of Septimius Severus is in the foreground.  The arch is over six stories tall!  Massive! 
Arch of Septimius Severus

Detailed relief on Arch Severus

Column of Phocas
Arch of Titus

Arch of Constantine
Arch of Constantine under renovation
After a walk around the Forum, we headed up onto the Palatine Hill.  Views back down into the Forum, as we climbed up the steep hill, were quite pleasing.

View at forum from Palatine Hill
Once on top of the Hill, we wandered around poking our heads into the various ruins.  The remnants of Romulus and Remus' huts were uninspiring but the view of the Hippodrome of Domitian on the heights was impressive.  The brickwork was extensive and the architecture, even in ruin, striking. 
Hippodrome of Domitian

Hippodrome of Domitian

Hippodrome of Domitian
Descending the Palatine Hill, one more view of the Colosseum from the Basilica di Santa Francesca.
Colosseum from Santa Francesca
and then a short stop at the Julius Caesar monument before returning to the hotel.
Julius Caesar
Despite a brief rainstorm, an enjoyable day of Forum exploration.

12 comments:

  1. Lovely pictures, especially enjoyed the ones on the Colosseum as they really show the complex structures under the ancient floor of the arena. It's just mind blowing to image that they were able to fill that thing with water and have staged mini sea battles. Roman architecture is really incredible! Very nice spot for the Hotel by the way, nice to be in walking distance from everything.

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    1. Soren, it would have been pretty cool to watch mock mini naval battles in the Colosseum, wouldn't it? I, for sure, would have enjoyed it!

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  2. Excellent pics Jonathan, I've always wanted to go to the Colosseum, you lucky boy!

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  3. Great tour and pictures, Jon. Rome is definitely on my bucket list, along with Venice, Florence, Siena, and more!

    Is there a large scale model somewhere of the reconstructed forum area at trhe height of Rome's glory? It would seem an obvious tool to help visitors better understand the remains that they are looking at. John Hancock would be shamed by the scale of the inscriptions on those arches, eh? Still easily read nearly 2 millenia (itself a Latin word) later!

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    1. Thanks, Peter! I still have photos from Florence and Venice waiting off stage.

      There is a model but I did not see it. Many of the book and souvenir shops sold posters such a model city at the height of Rome's glory. I should have picked one up.

      John Hancock reference is a good one! To be read from the ground at a distance of six stories, the lettering would have to be big...and it was!

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  4. Thanks for sharing an unforgettable day! I would be covered in goosebumps seeing such spectacular sights. One day, I hope to make the trip as well.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Monty! One friend says he enjoys traveling vicariously through my photo essays.

      One day, I hope you make it! I will likely return as I did not get to everything I wanted to see in three days.

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  5. Great looking photos! What an area so full of history all crammed into one place

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    1. Thanks, Dean! Rome certainly is packed with history, isn't it?

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  6. Rome is a fascinating city. I've always been partial to the Vatican art museum myself. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

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    1. Indeed! The Vatican Museum was a highlight for both of us.

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