From the Vatican we crossed the Tiber River to ancient Rome to see the Roman Forum and the Marcus Maximus.
The Roman Forum used to be the centre of the city’s public life in ancient times. The white remains and columns of temples and marble palaces recall the ancient splendour of the city.
The Circus Maximus, now a large grassland, used to be the largest stadium in ancient Rome for chariot racing, processions and gladiator combats. Chariot racing with quadrigaes, pulled by four horses, was the most popular sport in Rome, appealing to all social classes from slaves to the emperor himself. Remember the movie “Ben Hur”? The drama of these races was vividly recreated in this blockbuster movie.
Don’t miss the Trevi Fountain, celebrated for its rustling waters and for the popular legend that you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water. You should toss it over your shoulder with your back to the fountain. We were informed that approximately 3,000 euros are thrown daily into the fountain and are collected at night with the money being used to subsidize a supermarket for the poor and the needy. It is reported that there are regular attempts to steal the coins from the fountain , some using magnetized poles. The central figure of the fountain is the god of the sea, Neptune.
Take time to visit the monumental staircase – the famous Spanish Steps that leads to the French Church of Trinita dei Monti on the top of the hill. Consisting of 137 steps over twelve different flights, the elegant staircase becomes a splendid sea of colours in May or springtime when it is decorated with azalea blooms. The steps are usually crowded with tourists and locals who use it as a gathering place. At the bottom of the steps is the long triangular Spanish Square.
Absolutely a marvel to visitors, the Roman Colosseum is one of the greatest wonders of Roman times reminding us of the ancient grandeur of the Holy Roman Empire. Hebrew prisoners were employed in its construction. Of elliptical form, the Colosseum was to house spectacles of blood sports – gladiator combats and hunts of wild animals such as lions, bears and even buffaloes. Early Roman Christians were persecuted in this manner at the Colosseum. Today, the Colosseum still remains as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome. Interestingly enough, the Colosseum has become a favourite habitation for a larger number of stray cats.
Do not leave Rome, also known as the “City of Seven Hills”, (the Seven Hills of Rome are Palatine, Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, and Aventine), without window-shopping at the famous and aristocratic “Via Vittorio Veneto”, famous throughout the world for its elegance and one of the most expensive.
On our next travel we’ll take you the magnificent “City of Canals”