(December 19, 2009) Colosseum and Roman Forum
The itinerary for this day visits starts and ends in the Colosseum.
Once arriving there from “Colosseo” metro station, we will follow this
The spots marked at map are:
1- Saint Peter in Chains' Basilica
3- Arch of Constatine
5- Roman Forum
6- Capitolin Hill
7- Theater of Marcellus
8- The Mouth of Truth
9- Tiber Island
11-Largo di Torre Argentina
12- Monument to Víctor Emmanuel II
The first problem is coming when we find the
newsstand where we usually get our train tickets is closed. Asking some
people in the street is not helping as they don’t know where to get
tickets. We even look after the way of reaching the metro station by
walking but we cannot find a way to do that. A taxi driver asks about
our situation when he can see we’re kind of lost and when we explain
our problem to him he answers surprised: “Don’t pay”.
We finally do that after checking the stations and
platforms and confirming there is no way of getting tickets here. It
seems people are used of traveling with no ticket here. This way, we go
out from “Colosseo” metro station some minutes past 11 AM, after a
short line switch in “Termini” to the blue line.
The first thing we can see is the huge wall of the
Colosseum itself across the road, but we’re going to visit it later. So
we take the opposite direction to go up the stairs and walk just a
couple of blocks away to the Church of Saint Peter in Chains (San
Pietro in Vinculi), which was built to keep the relic of the chains
used against Saint Peter, but is famous because it has the statue of
Moses by Michelangelo.
If there are a lot of souvenir stalls in front of
the Colosseum with replicas of the monument as main product, in
different sizes, in this Square di San Pietro in Vinculi there is only
one, but a lot cheaper than those.
What we find inside is a basilica with art
everywhere. The apse is showing a golden reliquary containing the
chains which are giving sense to the whole temple. Just in front
they’ve set a nativity scene. All this is limited by four columns
sustaining a canopy
There are paintings all over the walls and some
marble sculptures in the right side of the aisle, but nobody is paying
attention to them as they have Michelangelo’s Moses just in front, as
part of a larger group.
We’re coming back to the Colosseum, taking some pictures of
the great views of it from this upper level. We’re going to give the
first use to the Roma Pass here. We can save the line with it, although
in a winter day like this it is not too long, and access inside the
It’s 11:45 AM when we’re walking along the pass ways which
connects to all the exits to the all levels of tier, like in our modern
stadiums. We explore all levels looking after the different views of
the interior of this huge building for shows. In our days is not
difficult to see tens of thousands of people watching an event, but
this Colosseum really got full 1900 years ago?
Today it appears as “naked”. The seats are no longer here and
neither the pit floor, we can see the bowels under it instead, which is
the area known as hypogeum.
As we go higher the views are improved. The temple
of Venus and Rome and the Arch of Constantine are two good examples of
It’s 12:20 PM when we leave the men dressed as Roman
centurions looking for some cash in exchange of photos, the Colosseum
and Arch of Constantine behind and walk to Palatine Hill, where we’re
going to go on with our visits. Access ticket to Colosseum includes
Palatine and Roman Forum, so these are the next places to
In my opinion Mount Palatine is far from being a Mount or a
Hill since long time ago and we get its summit after a short stairs
climb. There we find ourselves surrounded by ruins. Here lived the
emperors and these ruins belong to Royal Palace and Houses of Augustus,
Tiberius, Domitian, Flavians…
There is also a small museum about the first Etruscan
settlement by Romulus and Rome, which was the source of the city of
Rome, which seems it happened here too.
The itinerary through Palatine must address you to the Roman
Forum, which is clearly delimited by two arches. We access through Arch
of Titus and leave through Arch of Septimius Severus.
Apart from these two arches, there is nothing else
completed, but these are the remains of the city center of the ancient
Rome, the street with more live. We can find the ruins of Rostra,
temple of Vesta, or Curia Hostilia, just mentioning a few examples.
The Temple of Vesta is a small circle and is hard to imagine
here was the place where the girls who delivered their lives to keep
the fire honoring this goddess alive, the vestal virgins, were the
source of the arousal of the most of the Rome citizens.
Easier is seeing Cicero leaving the Curia, after a
hard session in the Senate and make one of his philippics, as a speech
to the people against Mark Antony, in the Rostra.
Back to the present we find the Square of
Campidoglio, just leaving the forum to the summit of the Capitoline
Hill, surrounded by the Capitoline museums. But we’re not going to go
into them; instead, we walk down Via del Teatro di Marcelo to find what
the names is pointing to: The theater of Marcellus, where Augustus
watched the plays of Horatius. Well, what remains from it, though, is
just some 45º of its circled façade, which is now integrated to
We keep walking down to Piazza Bocca della Veritá
(Mouth of Truth Square), where we expect to visit what it is giving
name to the place.
On this square we can see a small circled temple,
a fountain and the Church of Saint Mary in Cosmedin with its beautiful
bell tower. We go to the church looking for a sign pointing to the
location of the famous Mouth of Truth, but the sign results to be a
line of tourists waiting their turn for the picture with the face
carved in this sort of big stone coin.
The line, just in the entrance to the church, is fast. So you
take your picture and get into the building, where meet a more modest
interior than the rest of churches we’ve visited in Rome.
We go back up this time, without missing the river
side. It’s 2 PM and we’re hungry, so we only have to go across the
river to choose a restaurant in Trastevere. We already wanted to lunch
on this neighborhood, which starts just on the opposite river side.
We cross the river through the Tiber Island, which
we reach from Fabricio’s Bridge. We take a look to the Basilica of St.
Bartholomew on the Island, which gives its name to the square where it
We leave the island through Cestio’s Bridge, getting into the
colorful and narrow streets of Trastevere, where we can find quickly a
place to lunch.
The pizza in restaurant Vincenzo all Lungaretta is delicious,
although Eva prefers a two dishes meal, with the drinks we round the
tip to a total of 30€. We took our time resting here and it’s 3:30 PM
when we’re back walking through these streets in our way to the Church
of Saint Mary in Trastevere, the most relevant place here.
When we reach it, there is a funeral going on in
the church, so we just take some photos from the entrance discretely
So this way we’ve finished our long list of visits for today. We
walk back to Via de Trastevere which seems to be a hub for the public
transport and get the tram to cross the river back and leave it in a
place called “Largo di Torre Argentina”, a big square with some ruins
we don’t know in the middle.
As it’s only 4 PM and we have time we get into a sort of art store in
the ruins which seems to be related with cats: there are a lot of them
around, but also are a lot of items with cats thematic for sale. We
purchase just a calendar with a nice picture of a cat in a highlight of
this city for every month.
We follow Via dei
Plebiscito until being in front of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II.
From here we can see the Colosseum far away, at the end of Via dei Fori
We go to there as it is the way we must follow to Colosseo metro
station. It is at the end, but at the beginning we still have Trajan’s
Column, looking beautiful between the domes of St. Mary of Loreto and
SS. Name of Mary. In the way, this wide avenue is full of statues of
Julius Caesar and Augustus, as guarding the secrets of the ruins
excavated at both sides of the street.
The sun is leaving at the same time than us, about 5 PM, to our trip to the hotel.