Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Roman Rome

Sun 3 Jul
This morning we were all still tired and decided to get a latish start, as we were very tired after all the walking and standing around waiting yesterday.  The itinerary for the day was to visit the Archaeological sites – the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.  We had been told that the queues for the Colosseum were horrific, and that since one ticket gave entrance to all three sites, it was best to go to the Palatine Hill first.  One hour we waited in the queue.  They had run out of English guide books, and the English audio guides were all uncharged.  There wasn’t even a map we could walk around with, although there were boards with maps scattered around the site.  It was really hot, and we wandered around not really understanding what we were seeing.  The same applied to the Roman Forum.  Thus we didn’t really enjoy those two sites.  There was a chapel in the Forum with fantastic frescos which were obviously very old, but we don’t know how old, as there was no information.  You could also get a feel for the size of the Temple of Saturn.  But when you think about what an important tourist site it is, and how many visitors it must get every year, then you really feel they should have done a lot better.  There should be more information available, and clear ideas of the recommended rout to visit the site.  A self-guided walking tour map and commentary would be best.  And they should keep enough available in English so that they don’t run out.
Lunch was in one of the restaurants near the Forum, which I expected to be exorbitant in price, but it wasn’t too bad.  They had a normal menu and a pizza menu, and we chose to have pizzas.  They divided their pizzas into red pizza and white pizzas.  The red one had the tomato paste.  We all chose white ones to see what they were like, and very nice they were, too.
After lunch it was time to see the Colosseum.  It was very hot by now.  We decided to risk getting another guide, and this one was much better.  The preamble talk did not take too long, and they had pre-purchased tickets for those who didn’t already have then.  For those of us who already had tickets it was only 10 per person.  The guide was good and funny.  It was also amazing to actually be in the Colosseum.  After that we were so hot and tired and our feet were sore after standing waiting so much during the past two days, that we decided to go back to our hotel.  We had a very pleasant late afternoon sitting in their gardens with a cold beer, relaxing, and then finally eating a very nice meal in their restaurant.

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