Day 1- Colosseum
The Colosseum is located in piazza del Colosseo and is surrounded by beautiful Roman ruins. Our apartment was just a few blocks away. We could see the Colosseum from our front door. Its such an amazing view, especially after nightfall when the arches are lit up.
Construction begun in AD 72 by Emperor Vespasian and completed in AD 80 by Titus. The Emperor ordered the Colosseum (known to Italians by Colosseo) to be built upon Nero's Palace to be disassociated with the tyrant. The Colosseum had 3 levels for public viewing. The highest level sat the poor and those without Roman citizenship, middle level was reserved for Roman citizens, while the lowest level houses the wealthiest of Rome. Gladiators and animal fights were at the center of attention in the Colosseum.
When I think of what a Gladiator was back then I imagine tough fighters who were popular and well-liked. However, this is not the case. Roman Gladiators were usually slaves and prisoners. Most were male gladiators but occasionally there would be females as well.
There are 80 arches in the Colosseum. During inclement weather a canvas could be stretched across to protect the spectators. The Colosseum held 55,000 spectators, all of which could enter and find a seat within 20 minutes because of the many entry points.
On the second floor of the Colosseum you will find a small museum filled with artifacts from the Roman time. I cannot remember who this is.
I could never figure out what this is but it can easily be seen from inside the Colosseum.
You can also see the Arch of Constantine, a 25 m high monument built in AD315 to mark the victory of Constantine over Maxuntius.
Here is a good view of the 'basement'. This housed animals, gladiators, probably doctors and prostitutes. The floor of the Colosseum eventually fell revealing what we see today. The original floor was covered in dirt so that blood could easily be soaked up. If there was too much blood between battles they simply threw more dirt down to dry it up.
The kids were trying to see how strong they were!
After the Colosseum we grabbed some groceries from a local grocery and relaxed a bit at the apartment before heading out for dinner. We wanted to try a recommended pizzeria but didn't realize it opened at 7 pm. It was 6 pm and an hour wait was just too long. We made the mistake of walking a few blocks towards the Colosseum and finding a place there. Mistake meaning it was SO expensive! The food was decent. James got a pizza and I got gnocchi (wasn't too impressed). Drinks were outrageous. They were 5 euro per small soda and 6 euro for apple juice for the kids! We were also charged 1.50 euro per 'seat'. The kids didn't eat (because they are just so damn picky) but our bill was still 58 euro. Just one tip for now: Don't eat close to the tourist attractions and if you see lots of Italians eating somewhere its probably a good place to go. I'll post later about things we thought were a good idea and those that just didn't work out for us.
After that shocking bill we went home, relaxed, and slept well for our next day's adventure.