For our second day in Rome, I arranged for a Best of Rome tour. Our guide, Daniel, picked us up with a car at 8AM. We learned that a typical Italian breakfast would be a croissant and a coffee so we grabbed some before leaving.
Our first stop was the Pantheon, the best ancient monument that’s still in continuous use up to this day. It’s been around since 127 A.D.
The Oculus is the Pantheon’s only source of light and there is no glass whatsoever up there. I was puzzled and I asked what happens when it rains? Simple: the rain comes in and for that reason there is an ancient drain right beneath the oculus.
As almost everything was under renovation and closed off for cleaning, we couldn’t go up the Spanish Steps. Daniel took us to what he claimed was the best view of the city up on Pincian Hill. We were not disappointed.
The Spanish Steps from below. Hi, James Bond!
We went to The Colosseum, and Jim was beside himself with excitement.
It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, and the latest existing triumphal arches in Rome, it was also the only one to extensively reuse major sculpture from earlier monuments. The Arch of Constantine is also the biggest triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. (via Wikipedia)
Sadly, I haven’t seen the movie Gladiator but Jim filled me in on what he picked up from the film and others similar to it. He said the emperors had gladiators fight so that his people would be entertained and forget that they were starving. They didn’t have noontime shows and teleseryes back then.
Even with its brutal past, this is where the Pope leads the Stations of the Cross every Good Friday.
Although, it’s nice to know that the Colosseum is now a symbol of the global campaign against capital punishment.
As a gesture against the death penalty, the local authorities of Rome change the color of the Colosseum’s night time illumination from white to gold whenever a person condemned to the death penalty anywhere in the world gets their sentence commuted or is released, or if a jurisdiction abolishes the death penalty. Most recently, the Colosseum was illuminated in gold in November 2012 following the abolishment of capital punishment in the American state of Connecticut in April 2012. (via Wikipedia)
Then it was time for lunch. We went to La Soffita Renovatio and the food was DELICIOUS!!
We went straight to The Vatican after eating and we couldn’t wait to walk off all the carbs.
We visited the Sistine Chapel as well but as everybody knows, photography is not allowed. And if you talk louder than a whisper, you will be shushed by the guards.
We missed him by a day, actually. We were there on a Thursday and apparently there’s mass every Wednesday. You can click here to check his schedule in case you plan to go.
The Holy Door is sealed with mortar and cement from inside. It is opened every 25 years and next year it will be opened for the Jubilee year of Mercy. Everyone who passes through the Holy Door will be “cleansed and forgiven.”
The tour was done so we headed back to our place to rest a bit before having dinner. We ate at Rossopommodoro recommended by friends.
Both ingredients had “DOP” beside their names on the menu. This means Denominazione di Origine Protetta (literally “Protected Designation of Origin”). The ingredients are locally grown and packaged.
Walked back home and passed by a complex in Torre Argentina, where Julius Caesar was famously stabbed to death.
Walking back to Trastevere, we spotted a Reggae performer singing his heart out. Only a few people were watching him when we got there. But in just a few minutes, the place was packed, and people were dancing. Some of them even joined him on the mic to sing a few Bob Marley classics.
The following day, after exercising (Jim jogged and I couldn’t take the cold so I just did yoga indoors… Masabi lang na nag-exercise lelz), we walked back to the area of The Colosseum to visit the Roman Forum.
Along the way we passed by the place where Julius Caesar was assasinated once again. You can read more about the ides of March here.
Walking around Rome was so lovely
We were so hungry so we went to a nearby restaurant called Gustando Roma. Jim ordered 2 medium beers and they turned out to be bigger than we expected haha
We stayed and talked for 2 hours before going around to get lost in Rome
We ended up walking for 4 hours straight but we didn’t even notice because of the buzz from the beer and the perfect company.