Day 2 Roma - The Coloseum, Palatine Hill and Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II

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April 22nd 2015
Published: April 23rd 2015
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This morning we turned right instead of left as we stepped out the door of the Hotel Regno to head south-east towards the Colosseo. We found our way really easily because as soon as we turned onto the Via del Fiori Imperiali from the Via del Corso we could see it!! When we reached the Coliseum we were able to enter straight away and exchange our voucher for the Underground Colosseum tour for our tickets for the group departing at 9.40am.

Our guide arrived slightly before 9.40am to hand out audio devices for the tour. Just as we were about to head off a woman rushed up to say she should be on the tour, but she just had to round up someone?? Her husband, family?? Our guide, Barbara, said OK, but please hurry. We waited five minutes and then Barbara went to have a look in the direction the woman had gone, but came back without her and said right, let's get started. Why are people so disorganised! It's certainly a waste of money to book a tour and then fail to arrive on time for it.

Barbara took us to a massive steel fence that keeps the
Inside the Coliseum, RomaInside the Coliseum, RomaInside the Coliseum, Roma

The view from the reconstructed floor on our 'underground' tour
underground part of the Coliseum off-limits to general admission visitors. She unlocked a substantial padlock attached to a seriously heavy duty length of chain to let us through. The tour started on a section of floor that has been reconstructed at one end of the Coliseum. It certainly gave some perspective to how the arena would have looked when it was in its heyday.

Next we headed down into the area that existed under the floor of the Coliseum. Barbara explained that there were a number of levels underneath the arena that enabled the various man, beast and gladiatorial 'performances' to be stage managed. It must have been hectic down there, especially when you had to haul an elephant up onto the stage through a trapdoor!

After our underground experience Barbara took us up into the main part of the Coliseum that is open to the general public pointing out some key features on our way to another massive steel gate that seals off some of the higher levels of the Coliseum. The tour that Bernie had pre-booked also gave us access to some interesting levels that are higher up than most visitors get to see. We definitely thought that it was worth spending a bit extra for a top to bottom experience of the Coliseum.

When the tour ended we spent a bit more time exploring the Coliseum before heading out towards the Arco di Constantino. Unlike the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the arch is not much of a photographic opportunity because it is entirely ringed with really unattractive fencing!

We bought our lunch from sandwich truck (they are everywhere and quite reasonably priced) and ate our paninis sitting at the bottom of the Palatine Hill. Our ticket for the underground ticket also included the Palatine Hill so we finished our lunch and proceeded to the entry for the Palatino where we were subjected to a rigorous security search. Blimey, most airport security pat downs are not as thorough! The ruins on the Palatine Hill are extensive; certainly one of the largest Roman ruins that we have visited. It must have been a truly magnificent complex of buildings perched on top of the hill overlooking Rome. From the summit we wandered down past the Arco di Tito towards the Via Salara Vecchia.

Next we took a leap forward in history with a visit to the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II which was completed in 1925 to honour Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. As it was warm again today we really needed some water so we stopped in at the cafe on the terrace of the monument. It was probably expensive water?! And we looked like wowsers amongst all the young and trendy patrons with their Aperol spritzers!!! I've tried an Aperol spritzer though and can't say that it appealed to me all that much. It was surprising that Bernie didn't choose a beer though.

The monument has a number of nicknames with foreign visitors sometimes referring to the structure as 'the wedding cake'. Romans commonly call it 'the typewriter' or pisciatoio nazionale ('the national urinal') Whatever it may be called, the monument provides the opportunity to take an elevator to the top to enjoy panoramic views over Roma from an elevation of 80 metres. With it being a clear and sunny day Bernie gave the panoramic function on our Sony camera a good work out! After descending the monument we negotiated our way to the centre of the Piazza Venezia to photograph the monument itself.

After a couple of hours resting at the Hotel Regno we headed back out to take night shots of the Colosseum and Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II before eating dinner at another restaurant close to our hotel ... which proved to be better value that the restaurant on Tuesday night. Bonus!

Steps for the day 24,219 (16.52 km)

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16



Eating a panini near the Coloseum, Roma
A Roman GullA Roman Gull
A Roman Gull

Is it Jonathon or perhaps it's Steven?
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele IIMonumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II

Taken from Piazza Venezia

24th April 2015

A 'blessed' seagull !!
What a shame - a beautiful shot ruined by that darn bird !!??! Seriously 'tho, your panoramic shots are wonderful Bernie; you'll have to give me lessons when you get back. Keep up the great banter Tracey. What fabulous weather - how lucky are you both? Caroline
26th April 2015

Nice to catch up on your blog again :)
One of my favourite books. Who would have guessed, a book about a bird !

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