Thursday, April 13, 2006

Roma pics: The Colossuem

We couldn't go to Rome and not do the Colosseum, right? So, we did and on a cold and wet winter afternoon, we made our pilgrimage to the ancient ruins where Christian prisoners and lions were pitted against each other for the entertainment of the Roman mob. Built in AD70 during the rule of Emperor Vespasian and then Titus, this open air amphitheatre could house 50,000 spectators.

Nowadays, it attracts close to 5 million tourists a year. However today, the place wasn't very crowded. It's probably due to the cold and wet weather. There were a few local actors dressed up either as Roman soldiers or gladiators posing with tourists for photo-ops. We decided to forgo that as they charged € 10 per picture.

So we decided to just walk around taking pics of the ruins. Situated to the east of the Colosseum was the Roman Forum. It's the ruins of the ancient city of Rome where commerce, business, prostitution, cult and the administration of justice took place. It was destroyed and rebuilt with each succesive dynasty of Roman rulers with each Caeser and emperor eager to put a stamp of his own on the city. Various temples dedicated to this god and that can be found all over the complex in between government buildings and public bath houses.

As it was quite late, we could not enter the forum area (where most of the ancient Rome lies in ruins). We could however walk up a hill path to a small church at the peak where we could catch glimpses of the ruins.

It was a rather nice walk up as the weather was cool and it had stopped drizzling. The small church was actually rather unusual as there were 'altar houses' lining the path up to the main building where they kept the altars to the various saints.

And whoever did the interior decorating for the church must've had a really warped sense of humour for everywhere were images of the angel of death and skeletons holding sickles inside the church. It all gave the place a very eerie and ominous atmosphere and we decided to go in search of a more cheerful place. :-)

And this, my friend, is the Colosseum in all its glory - or rather, from the other side of the road. On our back to the hostel we each had a gelato and some really delicious pastry to celebrate the final day of our holiday in Rome. Onward to Prague!

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