More on Ancient Rome

As I was looking through my photos, I found myself wondering why all the ones of ancient Rome were from a distance and above.  It occurred to me that I had forgotten that we went twice.  The first time was an organized tour through a local company, prearranged before we arrived in Italy.  I do not recommend this.  It was a huge disappointment.  It reminded me of the jokes you hear about seeing the Grand Canyon where you run to the edge, look out over the expanse for two minutes, then someone says, “O.K., moving on…”

In the first tour, that is exactly what they did.  They drove us to the Spanish Steps where everyone got out and walked to the top where there is a view of ancient Rome from the backside.  We looked over it for a few minutes, then the tour guide announced it was time to move on.  Same for the Colosseum.  Everyone was really ticked.

“You mean we are not going in?”  Several people chimed.

The tour guide looked at his watch, then announced, “No time!  Let’s go!”

That evening we were sitting in a small restaurant where the tables were very close together.  A couple from Ireland at the next table heard us talking about our disappointment of the days tour, and they caught our attention, and leaned in to tell us exactly how to get an awesome tour.

“Go to the Colosseum and stand around and wait for someone to approach you and ask if you want to take a tour.”

We were a little nervous.  DH said, “Is that safe?”

The Irish guy nodded.  “Yes.  They have a license, they can bypass the lines and they will take you everywhere.”

So, with a lot of trepidation, we went back two days later.  Sure enough, within ten minutes a young guy approached us and asked us if we wanted a tour.  We said yes, something we will never regret.  It was amazing.  He asked us to meet him in an hour while he gathered more people for the tour, and when we came back the group was ten people.  Everyone paid him and we were off.  We bypassed the enormous line and walked right in to the Colosseum.  He took us on the ancient Rome tour after a break for lunch.  That’s when I got the shots of the Colosseum from the previous post as well as the following shots of ancient Rome.



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Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum


This is the Arch of Constantine.  It sits between the Colosseum and Palatine Hill.  It was built in the early 4th century to commemorate Constantine’s victory over Maxentius in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.

From here we walked to the Colosseum.

This guy was taking a break from his acting duties.  It was pretty cool seeing people dressed up as though it were ancient times.

The North Wall of the Colosseum is the only remaining original wall.

In the bottom is a series of tunnels referred to as Hypogeum.  The ground floor is closed to tourists, but can be seen from above.

The Colosseum was started between 70-72AD by Emperor Vespasian.  It was finished in 80AD by Emperor Titus, the older son of Vespasian.  His younger son, Domitian added the hypogeum or tunnels to the bottom for slaves and animals.  There were dumbwaiter systems that would raise the captives through holes in the floor above.  The original Colosseum was three stories, but a top gallery was added later.  The small square hole at the top right was one of many along the top that was utilized for a framing system to hold awnings to keep the sun off of the Emperors.

You can see a reconstruction of the floor in the bottom left of this photo.  It was a wooden floor that they covered with sand for the games.  You can also see a reconstruction of the seating on the right just above the flooring.

The Hypogeum from the first level.