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Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city

(I won’t claim that, some old bloke said it way before I agreed)

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Exit stage right

Exit stage right


Why is that humans feel the need to oppress?

Some of the ancient ruins of Roma within the Roman Forum are vast. The Hippodrome on Palatine hill covers 160x48m according to Wikipedia (so it must be correct), and was home to emperors, Caesars and nobles, so must have been magnificent in its day, as the hippodrome was just one PART of the Palace of Domitan.
The Hippodrome, Palatine

The Hippodrome, Palatine


Equally the Colosseum is 3 levels high and could house up 600,000 in its heyday, so was the MCG of ancient Rome (or an old fashioned Stadio Olimpico, with a few more sacrifices than your average Roma match).
View from the Forum

View from the Forum

DSC_4633.JPG

But who built all that? The signs state that it was Septimius Severus who added the big extension in 395AD, but he wouldn’t have deigned to dirty his hands. Instead it would have been the slaves and the poor who had no choice, or the Christians and criminals who were thrown to the lions in the Colosseum for the entertainment of the privileged few. Although the standard of ‘civilisation’ and sophistication was impressive for almost 2 thousand years ago, I suspect it was enjoyed by the few, while the masses did it pretty tough. Luckily things have changed and we live in a middle-class world… or have they? How much do the Indian chaps earn who sell ice cold water to sweaty tourist for 1 Euro? Why are the few hundred of their mates so persistent in trying to get you to buy a ticket for the Hop on-Hop off bus for 23 Euro (what is their share?). And why are there women prostate in prayer position begging outside the Colosseum (would have been a photo with a story, but I was too embarrassed to take it). Roma is a big city with an eternal past, and she was a looker when young, but she’s a frumpy about the mid drift now, with a touch of mutton dressed up as lamb.

Today we paid 12 Euro, to visit a heap of 2000-year-old ruins. I know it’s a long time, but what happened on the way to the Roman Forum? In their heyday, the Colosseum must have been a mecca for the masses and the palace magnificent, but sometime around 5 AD politics got in the way and it all collapsed. So now we are left with a bunch of old walls, columns and headless statues, so glimpses as to what might have been.
DSC_4699.JPGDSC_4689.JPGSomethings missing

Somethings missing


It all adds to the intriguing mix that is Roma - the Roman forum that hints at ancient roman glory, the multiple Basilica with their artistic masterpieces that capture the magnificent renaissance, all randomly scattered amongst modern day graffiti-ed grubby Roma - truly "a poem pressed into service as a city".
Imagine the building that once stood behind

Imagine the building that once stood behind


They say "when in Rome ...", so we decided to go to the Opera that night - at least in Rome it makes sense to watch theatre in Italian. But it was hot in the sun trapsing around the forum so we adjourned to the Antica Taverna near the Termini for lunch, after which Helen took a pre-show kip while I wrote this lot over 3 Perronis – does it show?
Imagine the gladiators being winched up from below

Imagine the gladiators being winched up from below


La Traviata was suitably grandiose, altos and tuxedos - the leading lady was good, her lover a little old (barely younger than his father) and the conductor was an Einstein like wildman. However I thought that the church was a bit plain (not in comparison to Australian churches of course), as it had a mosaic Jesus scene, but no frescos, no elaborate statues – then realised it was St Paul’s within the walls Church of England – the poms just don’t have the Italian flair.
DSC_4731.JPGDSC_4737.JPGPope John Paul II sculpture near the Termini

Pope John Paul II sculpture near the Termini


Tourist Tip: we waited an hour to get into the Colosseum, because I’m a tight arse who won’t pay extra to jump the line. My tip – enter the Roman Forum (not the Colosseum) via the Escita (exit) and work your way east to the Colosseum, because the ticket includes both and there was no line when we left (or pay to skip the line).
Quote of the day: “Why do people need to oppress others?” Quote from Helen of Troy CLG as we walked amongst the ruins – is it ambition, greed or vanity?
Walk a mile …. 16,700 – we had to find an iron for the opera in the "a long way from 5 stars" Rimini Hotel
On the way to the Forum

On the way to the Forum


Piazza della Repubblica on the way from the Opera

Piazza della Repubblica on the way from the Opera

Posted by scoleman29 17:00 Archived in Italy Tagged rome

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