On our second day in Rome we woke up early in order to beat the crowds visiting the Colosseum. On the way to the Colosseum we made a couple of stop-offs: Firstly at a delicious bakery where we enjoyed croissants filled with pistachio and white chocolate cream (and coffee) and secondly, at Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (which you’ll have read about in my first blog post) to take a few more snaps in the morning sunshine!
The walk to the Colosseum from the monument is not too far, probably about 20minutes, with views along the way of ancient Roman ruins. We were fortunate to have warm weather and sunshine which made this walk really enjoyable. Arriving at the Colosseum we realised the scale of this magnificent ancient building. You really have to see the Colosseum to appreciate how impressive the architecture is for how long-standing it has been.
Inside the Colosseum, I really recommend picking up an audioguide to listen to as you go around to hear all about the history and details of the events that used to occur in this arena. You can imagine the vast crowds cheering and jeering as animals and men alike fought on the grand stage (which has been re-constructed in part). The audioguide is full of interesting snippets of information, which really help you to visualise the prestigious events in the Roman calendar that occurred here. You can learn all about the rooms underneath the staging where the animals, including lions, hippos and even bears, were housed with the gladiators, ready to be released via trapdoor to fight for their survival.
After visiting the Colosseum, we visited the Roman Forum (included in the Colosseum tickets), where you can see more of the ancient structures that made up the grand city of Rome in its day. It’s also worth stopping to look at the flamboyant Arch of Constantine, which commemorates the victory of Constantine over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312 and was made to look particularly extravagant using coloured stone.
In the afternoon we took a walk across to the Trastevere region of the city, crossing over to the west bank of the river Tiber. Trastevere is a great place for a spot of food, listening to live music and appreciating the labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets and ancient houses of the region. We saw several street performers dotted around the Piazza di Santa Maria as people sat outside restaurants enjoying an Aperol Spritz in the afternoon sun.
In the evening we walked back enjoying accordion players, string quartets and various street performers along the way.
Albeit an obvious example of things to do in Rome, we’d thoroughly recommend a trip to the Colosseum! Then why not follow it up by a more relaxed afternoon in Trastevere, away from the crowds and enjoying the music over a glass of wine?
Look out for part 3 of our long weekend in Rome where we went on a bit of an unusual adventure!