Saturday, November 18, 2017

Italia 2017 - Roma Antica, Finding the Truth About the Arena

On our last day in Rome we were totally immersed into Ancient Rome. Going to the Coliseum is considered another of those 'A' list items when visiting Rome and as with the Vatican one is advised to use a tour as tours have priority access for entry and you can avoid the long lines. And as a bona fide Roman history nut, I convinced Wife we should do a tour that included both the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.

Ah, the Arena, the Coliseum
It is a commonly thought that the games of  the Coliseum were focused on such things as gladiator fights and fighting of wild animals or letting prisoners be killed by animals. In fact recent scholarship has found that ancient Rome much like its modern rendition was overrun with tourists from over the Empire. To get this plague of tourists under control, the Emperors solutions was having various tour groups duel with each other in the Coliseum. Our tour was designed to give us this very experience in real life

We fight the masses to get to into the arena
Our tour guide shows us
"There. You will achieve glory for our tour company and defeat the groups from Korea and China today
We will have a mock up of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. See we are putting out the floor as we speak.
Including trap doors for the organizers might have a group from cruise ship pop up without notice
The Leaders of the city will watch you with interest from there
And the crowd will cheer you on as you force yourself over the mangled bodies of other tour groups that try to get in your way!
The exploits of the great ancient tour groups victories in the arena were honored by massive triumphal arches

Scenes of these victories were carved on the triumphal arches
The Victory of the Celtic chariot tour over the Illyrian cruise shippers
The Greek philosopher tour's mastery of the Egyptian temple tour
The controversial victory of the Judean food tourists over the Dacian art tour 
(Evidently the use of the Menorah to push the other group out of the way was considered to be a questionable tactic)
There is something something about being surrounded the magnitude of these ruins, of a city that at its peak was over a million in population two thousand years ago that makes one contemplative
A tour guide contemplates the glory that was Rome
A seagull contemplates what monument it will poop upon
After the Colosseum we went up to the Palatine Hill and then into the Forum
The ruins of Imperial Palaces don't give one a feel of what was really there and as Wife has said, "There are only so many pictures of broken buildings one can post"

On the other hand, when you look at the Forum, center of civic life for hundreds of years in Rome, from above, you really can I think imagine just what an incredible city Rome was in its ancient time.

 Here are a building that have the original bronze doors and one that has porphyry pillars
And a temple that had a church built inside it

One last historical note
This is the Via Sacra, the main road running through the Roman Forum and according to our guide it is the original
Any major personage on ever read about in Roman history probably stepped on this very path
Kind of gives me a sense of awe of the scope and breath of history
And one last gastronomic experience
We had our last meal at a restaurant right next to our apartment
Sigh, one last wonderful pasta carbonara
A last grilled fish
And one more wonderful osso bucco 
All with a half liter of house wine
I will miss eating in Italy so much


Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

I'm more of a solo fighter, so when I was in Rome I skipped the tours and focused on hand to hand combat with the tourist hordes.

But I did share your wonder at picturing Roman life in the past

alexis said...

I was last in Rome many years ago and still found it an impressive experience. LMAO on the Collesium tour.