They girls were up and ready to go and ON TIME!!! Woot! While the breakfast wasn't as nice as previous morning meals the girls made due with fresh fruit and stuffed croissants. Ana L., of course, had plenty of cereal. We hoped on the tour van with our guide Manuel and headed towards Roma Centro.
Along the way Manuel pointed out the different buildings in the EUR district and gave us the brief history of the area (see the previous day for the history lesson). As we started to progress down the wide streets of the EUR district you could see in the distant the building getting smaller and older. Finally, we made it to the outskirts of the city center. All around the city center is the old city wall from ancient Rome. Now these walls aren't the very first walls built at around 390 BC but the Aurelian Walls that were built under the Emperor Aurelian. We crossed the walls and entered into the city center. Our first stop: The Colosseum.
Well, technically it wasn't our FIRST stop since we cant drive right up to the Colosseum but it was our first major stop. We had to pass through the Arch of Constantine which was built to commemorate Constantine I's victory of Maxentius. Manuel showed us how the Romans, when building new buildings, often recycled old material and sculptures.
Next we walked all around the Colosseum and got the history of the largest amphitheater ever built in the Roman Empire. We got to see the Emperor's entrance and look at other historical attributes of the building. Many photo's later we walked around the area and Manuel showed us various temples and and sculptures. After seeing the sights we hopped back in the van and headed towards the Spanish Steps.
The Spanish steps connnect the Piazza de Spagna to the Piazza Trinita dei Monti. It is the widest staircase in all of Europe. Before the steps were built the piazza was divided into two parts, the French Square and the Spanish Square. You see at the time (early 1700) Spain and France were rivals in the trading game and didn't get along so well. The two embassies, located in their appropriate squares, fought a silent war with one another each claiming the space in between. Eventually the two sides were brought together bye the Pope Gregory XIII and a contest was started to design the steps. Eventually we were left with the symbolic steps connecting the once feuding parties.
Now, Mr. Ort found all of this extremely interesting... the girls were ready to vomit from all the history being crammed down their throats. Sorry ladies. Just like your leafy greens, history is good for you!
Next we wandered through the winding streets while Manuel pointed out statues and buildings. Needless to there was way too much info to put down here. So, Mr. Ort suggest you hope on a jet and head to Roma!
The last major part of the tour was the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. We stopped for pictures next to the fountain, which was jammed full of people, and a few of the girls threw coins in the fountain. Sadly, the girls had to listen to Mr. Ort sing “Three Coins in a Fountain” with his Pee-Wee voice while many Italians starred at the strange man. Sorry ladies.:(
We said our goodbyes to Manuel for the day and grabbed lunch at a busy little place near the Pantheon. After dinner Mr. Ort and Mariana headed to the bathrooms. The setup was one men’s WC and one women’s WC with a shared washing area. Mr. Ort left the men’s room to see Mariana with a very confused look on her face. The sink had no handle to start the water and wasn’t operated by a motion sensor. After a few seconds of laughing Mr. Ort found a blue and red pedal beneath the sink! Alas, hands clean the two headed upstairs to meet with the group.
After lunch we hopped on the metro to a different area of town to do some shopping. The girls were given their boundaries and left the old people behind. The old folks did some window shopping and had a Coke. The girls spent your money wisely.
The group met up after a few hours and took the metro/bus back to the hotel.
No, that isn't a real Roman guard. Just a guy making an easy Euro.
Arch of Constantine.
Our first vew!
Our wonderfully behaved girls listening to Manuel describe ancient Roma.
A smaller arch celebrating another battle.
*sigh* Yes, he is an American. Boston from the sound of it. Doing us proud mullet man!
The holes you see in the stone are spaces where iron wedges were used as shims to level the stones. Throughout the many years folkrrecycled the iron. They did this with stones, statues, and etc.
Here you can see some of the facade. The faced, and much of the colosseum, has seen better days. Fires, earthquakes, and looting of materials have left it looking more like a skeleton than an ampitheater.
The Temple of Venus.
You are looking at the ancient main road into Roma. Think of all the people, armies, Emporers, and more that walked under that arch!
Heading to the Spanish Steps.
Mariana.... are you pooped?
The locals call this the ugly fountain. We all agree.
Spanish Embassy. I think.
The Trevi Fountain.
"Ten chicas near a fountain. Which one will the fountain bless?"
Wishing for hombres.
Looking sleepy old man.
The Chamber of Commerce... now of course.
Tah-dah! The Pantheon
Inside the Pantheon.
Mrs. Reinhardt's handbag shop in Roma. (Mrs. Reinhardt's first name is Ginger)
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