Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 176 - Colloseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum

I stayed at a hostel last night and it was the first time I was in a room with all Chinese people. There were two Taiwanese students who were studying in Prague but taking some time off to visit Italy, and one other guy who was from Toronto, Canada. Usually, I see all the Asians in organized bus tours, but I guess we have our own share of backpackers and independent travelers.

Linh and I took another tour on the Hop On Hop Off bus. Most of the route was the same as yesterday, with a couple of additional stops since it was a Sunday and they had to adjust to traffic conditions as well as the religious services that were held on the holy day. We stopped at the Trinita del Monti and the Spanish Steps, a popular spot for tourist and locals alike to stop and grab a bite to eat or converse amongst company. At the bottom of the steps were some of the more high end luxury brand stores.

We decided to use our Roma Passes and headed to the Colloseum, where slaves once battled each other and animals to the death amongst a stadium full of spectators. Each time the slave won a battle, they would win gold, honor, and the interests of the women of the empire. With 10 wins, the slave was then set free, or could continue to fight to gain more honor and wealth. I thought about it for a while, thinking how brutal these battles were, and how people watched it as a sport, seeing people get killed in front of their own eyes, but I guess it's not too different right now with boxing and wrestling seen as spectator sports.

Afterwards, we headed to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, which were adjacent to the Colloseum. The Roman Forum was a collection of ancient ruins, surrounded by Roman Empire government buildings. There wasn't too much left of the remains except for some standing columns and scatters of ruins everywhere else.
Palatine Hills is one of 7 hills in Rome, and also contained some ruins of homes and some nice green space at the top, providing some open views of the city below. I think they were just bonuses next to the well-known Colloseum, but easily skipped if you want to see other sights or museums, since there are so many options!

Roman Colloseum

Spanish Steps

Pizza Chefs Fooling Around

Roman Colloseum

Roman Forum

Palatine Hill

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