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The T3sk3y Defenestrator

Italy 2007 – Rome Part II

Our last full day in Italy was to be spent touring ancient Rome – the Forum, the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, the Pantheon, and any other remaining sights.

The Arch of Constantine with the Colosseum in the background

We had an early start for our tour, so we ate a quick breakfast in the apartment before hiking over to our meeting place just outside the entrance to Palatine Hill. This was just past the Colosseum – only a few blocks away. There, we met up with Jennifer (our bubbly tour guide) and the rest of our tour.

Jennifer telling us about the Forum

Our tour started just outside of the Arch of Constantine with some background on Roman history – mostly centered around the forum area and the few emperors that made the most impact to the area. We then made our way past the arch commemorating the sacking of Judea (the Arch of Titus) and in to the heart of the Forum. Throughout all of this, William relaxed in his stroller and enjoyed the walk.

The Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina

As we were hearing about the Vestal Virgins, Heather let William out to play. He immediately plopped down in the dirt and started playing with rocks – rocks steeped in the history (and filth) of ancient Rome. I think Jennifer was a little disgusted by this – but William had a great time doing it. After making our way around the rest of the Forum, we went across the street to the Colosseum (or should I say – the Flavian Ampitheater)

William enjoying history in the Forum

The group made our way around the inside of the Colosseum and up to the upper level – all the while hearing from Jennifer about the history, the myths, and the truths about it. On the upper level – she gave us a few last bits of knowledge (along with some dining advice) and wrapped up the tour. It was really only supposed to be a 2.5 hour tour – but it didn’t actually wrap up for over three hours. This earned her a generous tip. We walked around for a few more minutes before heading off to lunch.

Constantine’s Arch as seen from the Colosseum

Tours aren’t cheap – but after two great tours, I was sold. I got a lot more out of the two areas (the Forum and the Vatican) that I had already visited than I would have otherwise.

The inside of the Colosseum

After the tour, we walked toward the Vittorio Emmanuel II monument and stopped at a little restaurant for a late lunch. What did we have? Yep, pizza again. It’s funny how you can’t get sick of the stuff!

By this point, it’s too late (about 4 PM) to enter Palatine Hill. The last entry is at 3:00 because it closes at 5. Apparently one hour just isn’t enough time. I’m now 0-2 on visiting Palatine Hill – I’m going to have to go to that FIRST next time.

As if we hadn’t walked enough on the trip, we decided to do Rick Steves ‘Rome night stroll’ walking tour after that. This is the tour we would have done the night before if we would have remembered Rick’s book. To get there, we had to make our way to the Campo de’ Fiori starting point. We did this by way of a stroll through the Circus Maximus and along the Tiber river.

Campo de’ Fiori at dusk

Since it was a night tour, it worked out perfectly that the sun went down just as we hit Campo de’ Fiore. Actually, we would have arrived sooner – but we spent a half-hour trying to find a McDonalds so we could use the bathroom. The walking tour took us from there to Piazza Navona, over to the Pantheon, past the obelisk at Piazza Colonna, to the Trevi Fountain, and finally to the Spanish Steps.

The Pantheon during our walking tour

I have a funny feeling that I was the victim of an attempted pickpocketing at the Trevi Fountain. Some guy kept trying to distract me with nonsense like “Isn’t it beautiful – isn’t Rome the most beautiful city in the world?!?” Every time I ignored him, he got a little more persistent. He may also have been trying to distract me so that his crew could pickpocket Heather or Mom. Either way, I ignored him and bugged out before anything could happen.

The Teskeys at the Trevi Fountain

After the Spanish Steps, we took the train home after a long day of walking and finished with a dinner at the little cafe’ below the apartment. Since we were leaving the next morning, we had to get packed before turning in for the night.

Next up – the long trip home.

See the rest of my pictures over at my SmugMug account here: link

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