Our thirteenth day started a bit late because of a long explanation. It also started with croissants and espresso at Route 66 cafe (I swear we ate nothing else before noon for 14 days) on our way to the coliseum. Before entering, we were bombarded with "independent tour guides" that would get you in the historic arena lickety-split for the small price of *insert euro amount here*. If anyone has taken these people up on their offer, let me know because I don't trust them and it could be a perfectly legitimate proposition.
We, however, paid the eleven euros for entrance to the Coliseum and the Forum. A very reasonable price, in my oh so humble opinion.
Reading the information panels that line the ancient hallways, I couldn't help not liking the place and what it represented. To give general examples, they would have shows where one could watch rabid dogs attack defenseless deer or people would try to see how many arrows it took to decapitate an ostrich. I realize that these events should be considered minor cruelties compared to other more barbaric events but its just not my cuppa tea.
Gladiators fighting to the death? eh. Christians eaten by lions? That's too bad. Animals subjected to cruelty? Damn the Romans!
I didn't expect to spend so much time in the Forum or be so amazed by it but the walk through the ruins was very memorable. I was very impressed by how much they've preserved even if they've lost so much. As Travis said, we know that Caesar Augustus walked these roads and we know that Marc Anthony presented speeches on the rostra that stood feet from us. Again, just like many in Europe, a very humbling experience.
Justa chillin on some ancient ruins
The seagulls are GIGANTIC. This one charged me tre fish for una picture.
Roman gatto on the hunt for italian pigeon food
We then made our way to the Ecstasy of St. Theresa. Maybe you know it from Travis' art appreciation class? Maybe not. In any case, it is a very well know piece done by Bernini and its located in a small Roman church. We had intended to see it early that morning but due to a variety of circumstances, it had to wait until the afternoon. When we found it, I couldn't believe how small it was or how breathtaking.
That night we actually went back to the restaurant where we had first eaten. The pizza was that good, although we didn't get seconds this evening. We started with the parmigiana risotto which was delicious. Travis ordered the lasagna and I had...gnocchi! For those who don't know our family's Italian Sunday dinner, gnocchi are little potato balls that are served in marinara like pasta. My grandfather hand makes this dish and when he does it is a big event in our family. A dinner to celebrate! So I was very excited to try it in Italy.
I know that this gnocchi was made in Italy and was supposed to be all authentic and whatnot but it paled in comparison to my Papa's. To be completely honest, so did the sauce. I'd take a good Italian Sunday Dinner with Nana and Papa over this dish any night. And while on the subject, I should mention that although the bread is very good in Italy, it too, is nowhere near the quality of my Papa's. Again, Italian Sunday dinner takes the cake, or loaf, in this case.
We ended our evening by walking the piazza near our hotel. I don't know the name but there is a large Egyptian obelisk in the center and large fountains located on either side. After Travis' admirable haggling, we purchased a cheap little toy that lit up and twirled when you shot it up in the air with a rubber band. Its a bit harder to describe than I expected but all you need to know is that it was cheap, fun, pretty, and I took it home with me. We spent some time practicing our skills before retiring for the evening.
Tomorrow, we're up and early headed south to Pompei!
Travis and Lisa