Welcome to Rome Day 2! On our second day in the Eternal City we visited the Ancient Core, which includes the Colosseum, Palatine Gardens, Roman Forum, the Pantheon, and then took a day trip to my personal favorite, Ostia Antica. Yup, it’s Ancient Rome day! I’m splitting Day 2 into two posts because it would be too long otherwise. To read about Ostia Antica, go here.
We used our Roma Pass to skip the ticket lines and enter. The Roma Pass includes unlimited public transport and 1 attraction. Since the Colosseum + Palatine Hill + Roman Forum are bundled to count as 1, it’s really a 3-in-1 deal! The Roma Pass can be purchased at the Tourist Information at Fumicino International Airport – it’s on the way out and easy to find.
Watch out for people dressed as gladiators offering a photo-op. They will demand a tip. My sister’s boyfriend was scammed (on a separate trip) and paid dearly for it. Also watch out for pickpockets.
Here you can see the underground passages where they kept slaves and animals.
It’s fascinating to think that the Colosseum is 2,000 years old, and where the bloodiest, goriest gladiator games played out. It’s really something to stand on a structure that was built thousands of years ago. It’s even better to think it was home to a brutal, violent, ancient sport.
As a bonus, there is an informative exhibition area leading up the Colosseum that tells about the history of the ancient ruins, including what ancient Romans ate while watching the sport (they must’ve had really strong stomachs), ancient tools, and excavated bones.
The Colosseum is only a short walk away from the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forums, all included under the same entry ticket as the Colosseum. Frightfully convenient. Just scan your Roma pass at the start of the entrance line. Simple! Be careful not to leave without visiting both the Palatine Hill and Roman Forums – the combo ticket does not cover re-entry.
Once a Roman palace, the Palatine Hill was beautiful. You’ll find remains of the ancient palace, an ancient stadium, and a charming little Museum.
The stadium was impressive. I think it was being used as an actual stadium, because there was sports equipment at the borders, and a random word.
Colorful flags were set up, helping to add a pop of color to the ancient palace.
It started pouring while we were exploring (bring an umbrella and/or a poncho!), so we sought shelter in the museum for a little bit along with a bunch of other tourists.
Yeah, turned out it also got pretty cold. Dressed only in T-shirts and shorts, we ran to the Roman Forum and sought shelter under this large structure, along with many others. There was a metal fence going around it, but people gotta stay dry.
Funny, embarrassing story time!
When leaving the shelter, coordinated as I am, I tripped on the metal fence surrounding it, sprawled face-first for the soaked gravel ground and went SPLASH! in a puddle.
My right hand broke my fall, and it bruised terribly and ached for days afterwards. It didn’t bruise as badly as my dignity, though.
My sister took pity on me and bought a bright orange poncho for 5 Euros from a brilliant entrepreneur. It was raining and people were stranded at the grounds, so he ran to and fro armed with ponchos to sell. (Who knows where he got them from? It was genius!)
Heed my warning: come to Rome armed with an umbrella and a good windbreaker. And don’t try to hop through fences. It doesn’t work.
Warm and snuggly in my bright orange poncho, we ventured into the drizzle and cold winds and explored the Roman Forum. Rick Steves offers an awesome guided tour of Roman Forum, with histories of the Arch of Titus, House of the Vestal Virgins, and the Temple of Julius Caesar, to name a few.
The white arch on the right is the Arch of Septimus Severus, a triumphal arch dedicated in AD 203 to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus.
The Roman Forum was once Ancient Rome’s birthplace and center. Someone needs to develop an app that juxtapositions images of what the ruins used to look like in its glory days. I want to hold up my iPhones and see the Roman Forum in its full splendor. Pretty please?
The rain eased up and thankfully it got warmer as we made our way to the Pantheon (~ 20 minute walk). Along the way we shared a quick lunch – a panini with ham, cheese, mushrooms and marinara. Cheap and good eats are abundant in Rome!
It’s hard to believe this was built two millenia ago because it looks brand new. A Roman temple dedicated to all (pan) of the gods (theos), it was originally built in 27 B.C. by Marcus Agrippa, and then rebuilt by emperor Hadrian around A.D 120. It was converted into a Christian church, which preserved it through the Dark Ages.
The dome served as the model for Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence, and then Michelangelo’s dome of St. Peter’s, both prominent Renaissance features. Roman engineers knew their stuff.
This is a must-see. Free entry to all!
Like the Trevi Fountain, it lies smack in the middle of the city. Google Maps comes in handy for those who cannot read maps (like me.)
That marks the end of this post, but that is not the end for my post on Ancient Rome, nor is it the end of Rome Day 2! Go here to continue onto my feature post of Ostia Antica! (I liked the ancient park so much, I gave it a post all to itself.)
Liked this post? Pin it!
This post is part of a whirlwind 14-day trip in Western Europe with my sister prior to her exchange programme in Glasgow, Scotland. Thank you for a trip of a lifetime!! (And here’s to many more!!)
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links; at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. If you would like to support this blog, please consider using these links!