When in Rome...

New York ~ Milan ~ Rome I and Rome II ~ Prague ~ Amsterdam ~ Tokyo

Oh Rome. We were so glad that we took a train from Milan to Rome; I have been to Rome before but The Engineer had not and if you go to Italy, you have to go to Rome! There is so much history there. One of the things I remember quite vividly about Rome is that you can be walking along in the city and right in the middle of everything there is an excavation of ancient ruins.

Crazy. These particular ones were on our way the the Colosseum and the road was pretty much built right around it. You pass many others that are squished in between buildings, leading you to believe that pretty much everything is built on top of something.

Also on our way was the tomb of the unknown soldier. As in many countries, guards are posted 24/7 and the site is well respected.

On our way up to the top there were some old design drawings of the supports inside some statues. So cool. Those designers were so smart and it looks exactly like some of the stuff we learned in school. *Nerd Alert* Naturally we stopped to admire and take pictures. 

From the top we had a great preview of the Roman Forum and Colosseum, where we would spend the rest of our day. 

Of course it goes without saying that the Colosseum is amazing and awesome. But there it is, I said it just for the record. 

Can we just throw a few things out there? OK, thanks...

1. It's crazy that they could get those massive stone blocks hoisted that high back in the AD days. 

2. It took so. many. people. to build it 

3. Um...its still (mostly) standing. After nearly 2,000 years. Yes seriously. What?!?

4. Gladiators walked here (and sadly died here). 

5. I forgot, they actually built a retractable canvas like roof. Crazy smart!

I think I got most of that out. 

We spent a lot of time taking some of the cool features in. Like the fact that on some of the remaining exterior wall you can still see where staircases used to be. 

The Engineer now owns the place. 

When in Rome...

We headed over to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum to check out the oldest remnants of the ancient city. 

I still think one of the coolest things about Rome is that there are ancient ruins intermingled with the modern city and that's completely normal. We don't have anything like that back home (partially because were not old enough yet) but I think its neato gang. 

We were commenting that the tickets which included the Colosseum and Roman Forum seemed very reasonably priced. Considering the constant restoration of these sites it is supprising that they don't charge more. Additionally there are many places where ruins have yet to be uncovered. So then we started to wonder where all the money was going. We knew a large portion went to the upkeep of the Colosseum, but we wanted to know where the rest was going and we soon found out. 

From the outside of the Roman forum our inner nerds were distracted by this...

The robust supports attracted our attention and from the inside of the Roman Forum (you couldn't get that close from the outside) we realized how large this building actually was. 

This was a part of the old shoppes in the Forum and one of the largest open structures that still had an intact ceiling so it was understandable that there would be a large effort to restore this area as opposed to digging up new areas first. It was impressive to say the least. 

The rest of the Roman Forum was mesmerizing as we wondered through imagining what it was like all those years ago. 

We spent so long in there that we enjoyed our lunch during a beautiful sunset. 

There was a little light left after our delicious meal, and we took our time looking at the portions of the Roman Forum that are across the street (out of the ticked area) and in the few surrounding blocks. 

Some of the areas had beautiful lighting that we got to enjoy once the sun dipped below the horizon. 

We headed to the apartment to take a short rest and then headed out for out for the evening. On our way out we passed by the Pantheon (which wasn't open and you want to go buy during the day to see the oculus (circular opening to the sky). It is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome so

of course

we went back the next day to go inside!

We were really aiming for Trevi Fountain which was one of my favorite places from my last trip to Rome and I wanted to make sure The Engineer saw it at night when it was lit up and pretty. Except that they were restoring it and it looked like this...

Total fail. I really missed the memo on those restoration dates ha! Oh well, next time ;-)

Jump to day two!