It’s Day two in Rome and you’ve got a date with a Gladiator in the Colosseum.
There are several career paths you’re now husband has mentioned over the years that fit his personality type and high tolerance for pain. Firefighter. Police Officer. Top secret member of the U.S. Army Special Forces or Navy Seal. But a Gladiator? Weren’t they all unfortunate criminals or prisoners of war with no citizenship? Sure, some of the attributes line up: brute strength, athleticism, courage and enough craziness to fight to the death, but who would choose that path? Well, if you measure it in giddiness and chatter during our tour of the Colosseum, he would.
And apparently he wouldn’t be the only one. Even free men opted to enter the ring in search of glory and prize money. Confident in your abilities, my dear, but happy it’s no longer an option for you.
Having a hard time picturing what all this rock is about? Let’s revisit a classic scene to put us in the Gladiator spirit.
It’s really hard to believe this building still stands after thousands of years, earthquakes, floods and fires, but it does. There are parts of the massive arena that still showcase the original marble flooring as well as a reconstructed area that simulates what it looked like in its prime.
You try not to compare it to familiar places like Soldier Field, but it’s hard not to when so many of today’s mega-stadiums resemble the same framework the Colosseum originated so many years ago.
Now uncovered, the area below the main floor housed two levels of compartments and included trap doors that could spring the animal up onto the main stage to excite the audience and challenge the gladiator. Kind of reminded me of the bushes behind my old Montessori school where I used to run an imaginary zoo. Much friendlier animals in my care, of course.
Thanks to high-end designers like Tod’s and Fendi, historic sites like the Colosseum and Trevi fountain are getting the funding for much-needed restorations that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Check out this recent 60 Minutes episode to learn more. It’s really fascinating.
We wrapped the Colosseum tour and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find our way out of the fiery maze that was the Roman Forum. Fortunately we had learned a lot about it the day before so the main focus became trying not to suffer heat stroke and keep our minds clear. The fresh water fountains helped.
One of my favorite parts of the forum and surrounding hills were the contrast of bright poppies and fresh water against the red and brown rubble.
Remember popular 90’s game Labyrinth? Yeah it was kind of like that.
That saying, all roads lead to Rome? Thanks to Augustus, technically all roads lead to this rock.
After the forum, we headed back towards the hotel to try what our guide John said to be the most authentic and homemade gelato in the city. And with a line out the door 100 or so flavor offerings, I’d say he was right.
We wrapped day two with an evening aperitivo on the rooftop followed by a heaping plate of carbonara.
When in Rome!