Rome – Day 5

Today we had two guided tours set up.

The first tour started at the Coliseum at 8:30am. By the end of this 3 1/2 hour tour, we got to go to through the entrance to the Coliseum, into the stands and looking out at the non-existent floor to what used to be where the gladiator games were held. The floor has since crumbled away, so when you look down, you see the “locker rooms” below, as well as the trap doors for the animals (lions, pumas, hippos, tigers, ostriches, elephants) that were led into the arena as an obstacle for the gladiators.

The second half of this first tour was of the Roman Forum, which had about a mile of ruins. You could really get a sense of what their houses, schools and palaces looked like, just by seeing the framing across the countryside.

When the first tour concluded at noon, we grabbed some lunch at the first air conditioned cafe we could find and then made our way back to our appartment.

At 3pm we had our second tour of the day at the Basilica of Saint Clemente. This church had various different levels below the ground where the original church was established in the year 300. We just kept descending further and further down into the ground. Surprisingly, the original wall paintings were still present, along with the columns that started on the very first (original) level and then were incorporated into the present day levels of the church. This church had an incredible mozaic on the present day level, illustrating the disciples, Christ, Saint Clemente, and a million other symbols. The details were simply breathtaking.

The next stop on this tour was at the Santi Quattro Coronati, another ancient basilica that dated back to the 4th century. The chapel of this basilica had stories painted on the wall that were still clear to this day. Amazing.

The last stop on this tour was Saint Giovanni in Laterano’s Basilica. This church was the original Vatican where the first Pope’s lived and preached before the present day Vatican was built. This church was constructed on the very spot where the FIRST church was built.

By the time today was at its end, our feet were sore, we were exhausted and anxious to rest awhile. However, tonight is our last night in the city of Rome. I polished off the last of the white wine in our apartment and then we were off for caprese salad, fresh olives, fettuccine bolognese, more white wine and gelato.

Tomorrow we rent a car and head to the abbey in which we are staying in the Cinque Terre and maybe a stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 at 12:37 pm and is filed under Miscellaneous. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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