Rome’s Best for Last: Colosseum & Forum

We did this same thing in Barcelona, leaving the most exciting tourist site until the very last day. I guess we want to end on a really high note. Having to push a double stroller around everywhere can be difficult, but every once in a while it has it’s perks. Sometimes, if you have a stroller you get to go straight to the front of the line. This happened at the Vatican Museum, the Colosseum, and the Louvre. Straight to the front! Woot!

Also, screaming children at the airport will get you a fastpass to the front of the baggage check-in line. It happened twice throughout our travels, but there was a third time where we were patiently waiting (and the kids were quiet) in a very long line to check our bags and Chris leans over to me, “This could take forever! Should we make the kids cry so we can skip the line?”

We read a self-guided tour of the Colosseum and eavesdropped a little on the tour guides who walked by. We pause and linger long enough to hear an interesting fact or two, but no so long that we look like free-loaders. There’s just SO much history here at the Colosseum. It’s so crazy to think — the gladiators were real people and they really fought here in front of thousands of people. The Colosseum also had some really cool features. In the picture below you see what remains of the network of passages and animal cages underneath the main floor. They had some pretty ferocious animals caged down there. There were trap doors all over, so the animals and other gladiators could appear suddenly on the main floor. They could flood the main floor and have naval battles. Also, did you know there was a canvas, retractable roof? Those Romans were pretty good engineers.

We passed by this building at least a dozen times while in Rome as we changed buses nearby. I loved to stare at it. It just looks so Roman!

So… a funny thing happened on the way to the forum… The tickets you buy for the Colosseum also allow you access to the Forum. That is, if you can find those tickets. After we hopped off the bus in front of the Forum, I searched and searched, but sadly they were gone. I never found them. So, we bought the tickets again! Just doing our part to support the history of Rome. We also lost a binkie somewhere in the Forum. I hope some archeologist finds it in 1,000 years and postulates about what kind of a monster used such a device.

This is a building that was built in Roman times and over the centuries adapted for many other uses. The columns in the front are part of a Roman temple. In later centuries, it was converted into a church (on two different occasions). And if you look closely in the picture below, you will see that the stairs lead up to the green door but end prematurely and there is still a 20 foot gap between the stairs and the door. In the 1800s, ground level was as high as the door! They excavated all the way back down to ground level in approximately the 2nd century. I can’t believe that ground level could change so dramatically over the years, but then I remember that lots of cities (like Seattle) have underground tours that show just in the last 200 years we’ve moved ground level up at least one layer. I guess we have our reasons.

Nearly all of the forum is just like this, one or two columns left of what once was massive, grandiose buildings. I can’t even imagine what the forum must have looked like in Roman times.

Always seems to be birds around to chase.

After eating more than enough pizza to last a lifetime, we were looking for something a little different when we stumbled upon Fonzie’s Burger. A little taste of home was just what we needed. We ate there for dinner about four days before we were scheduled to leave Rome. It was so good that two days later we thought we should eat there again. We head over to the restaurant to discover — it’s closed. Weird. There is conflicting information on the web regarding their hours, so we figured it was closed for lunch. We came back by around dinner time (because now we were craving burgers) and they were closed. Super weird! Maybe they were just closed for the day…. So we tried the next day too. Still closed! We were so sad, but had finally given up hope. We kept our eye on the restaurant the rest of our time in Rome. The street car we rode every day passed right by Fonzie’s, but we never saw it open again. If you ever go to Rome, please send us happy thoughts as you sink your teeth into the best burger of your life.

2 replies
  1. Darwin
    Darwin says:

    I wonder what Charlotte and Lucy will think about this trip years from now when they read these posts. I wonder what they will remember and what will again be new. Also, seeing themselves having fun when they were so young. In a foreign land. Chasing pigeons and gathering rocks!!!

  2. Denise Payne
    Denise Payne says:

    I love all your pictures. It makes me wish I was teaching World History.
    What wonderful memories and happy times.


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