Roman holiday

iRight before Memorial Day, I got back from an eight-day trip to Italy. I went with our Study Abroad group from school. The students were enrolled in a humanities class, and the instructor was one of our full-time faculty members who just happens to be a native Italian and spent a lot of his growing-up years in Rome. The trip was relatively inexpensive because we didn’t have to pay any extra tour company or tour guides, because we had Vincenzo with us.

We were based in Rome, and made two day trips, one to Florence and one to Pompeii. Pompeii alone was worth the trip, and I’ll post some pictures from there later. Our weather was perfect the first four days and rainy the final three (one of the eight days was travel). My first impression of Rome was – New York City with more Italians. It’s the same size, the streets are dirty, the people dress in dark colors (for the most part) and walk fast and as a whole (individual exceptions, of course) are pretty rude, the traffic is terrible and people drive like maniacs, and the pizza is great. One different thing about Rome is, there are no skyscrapers. I think that’s because no building can be taller than St. Peter’s, but I’m not sure about that.

Anyway, the trip was great, and we saw some amazing things. We spent the first day in the Colosseum. When you walk up the stairs from the metro station, there, this is what you see:

Look up, and there it is. Wow.

The inside was amazing. I love archaeological sites and ancient ruins, anyway, and to actually be standing in the same place where gladiators fought was beyond description. You could see where the emperors sat, and look down into the “basement” area where the gladiators waited to come up and fight and where they kept some of the animals they used:

The wooden floor is at the level where the original would have been; all the walls beneath that level are the holding areas.





The sense of history in a place like that, for me, is almost overwhelming. I could have stayed all day; I didn’t get tired of looking at it at all.


Here’s a wider view of the interior:

So cool to be standing there.

Look how blue the sky was. Beautiful weather our first day there.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you some more ruins, from the Forum area. This will be Italy Week here at Treading Softly.  🙂


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