Up and out early this morning to get to the Coliseum at 8:15. We actually got there at 8:30, but since that’s when it opened, it didn’t matter. Very, very impressive! The weight of history and sense of the long ago past is heavy here, yet as my husband observed, the basic design of stadiums and colosseums hasn’t changed all that much. We spent several hours going around the place.
We then spent some time wandering the Palatine Hill, the oldest part of Rome, despite serious heat – upper 90’s—and incipient blisters. I would’ve loved to spend more time exploring this oldest part of Rome. It was obvious that with every step you were walking on ancient building or streets. Partial excavations were everywhere. Ancient temples, ranges of columns, ruined walls, and assorted stacks of stone covered the area. Sadly it was just too hot and we were too wiped out to give it as much time as it deserved.
Heading back to the Metro station, we stopped for lunch at a pizza place recommended in Joe’s guidebook. The place is hidden back in a corner but is beloved by the locals. Very good pizza, Italian coffee and Tiramisu.
On the way to the Metro station, we passed by the huge church of Santa Maria Maggiore and stopped in. We hadn’t yet seen the interior of St. Peter’s, but even after that experience, this church remainsi right up there with the most impressive churches I’ve ever seen. Amazing mosaics, gorgeous side chapels with sarcophagi of popes, and the little chapel below the high altar with a statue of a pope kneeling before a casket that is reputed to contain relics of the Nativity crib.
At that point we were cooked and headed back to the hotel for some play time for Freya and a simple supper.