It had been a very very long time since I had been to Rome. I was excited to explore this ancient city and experience the warmth of the friendly Italians. So much of our human culture began in Rome and it is impossible not be moved by the connection to this history. There is a lot that was brought from the sophisticated Greek Empire that came 500 years before, which is just mind boggling really! But the Romans, in true fashion created a vast empire which survived for 1,000 years. We have seen reminders of this vast empire throughout Europe. The first half of the empire began with a republic government ruled by elected officials and then in the middle period of the empire, the Caesars took over as dictators, which eventually brought the end of the Roman Empire, something to examine for sure. It is always better to have a democracy!
To first see the Coliseum from afar and slowly walk up to it is a dramatic experience, for sure. The Coliseum has such emotion to it. When it opened in 80 A.D., it had a total of 4 stories, which is only partially seen today. It is said that the Romans invented concrete and bricks. There is extensive use of brick which is clearly visible throughout the Coliseum. At the time the Coliseum was used, it was covered in marble. For our children, learning about the gladiators really brought that history to life. Imagine yourself as a gladiator walking into the Coliseum with 50,000 spectators excitedly waiting for your gruesome death, what fun they all had, quite the show! I guess it was important to make clear the power that Roman Empire had over just about anything, man and beast. Barbaric, yes, but they had something to prove.
We spent several days in Rome strolling among the ruins. We were excitedly joined by my husband’s mother who added so much to our experience! In addition to exploring the Coliseum, we visited the Forum, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the incredible Galleria Borghese. Rome is such a vibrant city but it still is a city and we ended up having one of our tires slashed in a not so safe parking area. We luckily found a nice man to help us, but we heard it could have been a lot worse. Anyway, as much as we loved Rome, when it was time to leave, we happily headed off into the sunset, towards Lucca.