I didn't write yesterday because there was not much to report. It rained off and on throughout the day, so I postponed my Colosseum plans. Instead I went on a walk similar to the one from my first day, with the only real differences being going into the Altare della Patria monument and viewing the surrounding area from it's outdoor areas. I then walked Via del Corso again, before getting stuck in the rain and hiding out in random shops while it passed.
Today the weather was much better, which meant… COLOSSEUM!
I took the wrong street to get there, so initially got totally lost and ended up looping right back to where I started. I got there in the end though! The Colosseum ticket also includes entry to the Palatine hill and Roman Forum, so I thought I'd be a super savvy tourist and do those two first because I figured the ticket lines would be much shorter than the Colosseum one. I was right! No line for a ticket, and then I walked straight in. Go me.
The Palatine hill is where Rome has it's origins and was home to lots of wealthy Romans including lots of emperors. It also has great views over the Roman Forum below and then further out in the city. The ruins were pretty cool, but the best part was definitely the view of the Forum below. So impressive. Later on at the Colosseum I went into a bookstore and found a book that showed what the buildings used to look like over the top of what they now are. That then gave me a really good perspective on it all and helped with context. Within the Forum I got really excited about the Arch of Titus, which is another thing I studied in high school classics class. I still think it's incredible that these people could construct such huge, impressive and ridiculously detailed architecture over 2000 years ago.
After I finished in the Forum I walked across the road to the Colosseum. My decision to buy the ticket earlier from the Palatine Hill entry became even more of a genius plan when I saw the line for tickets outside it! I hopped in the entry line and walked straight in. That was a huge surprise. I'm hoping (or maybe I should pray?) that the same thing happens when I visit the Vatican.
Anyway, I entered the Colosseum and went up to the second floor to begin. Within the inside was a collection of old items, like game pieces (including knuckle bones!!!), busts and pottery that were found within the site. Outside was the coolest part, obviously. Firstly, it is gigantic. It was built to hold 75,000 people. That's just incredible.
I was pretty in awe of the whole thing. It's pretty horrible to think that so many people were forced into being gladiators, and so many animals held captive, and ultimately then forced to die there. The Romans were barbaric. With that aside, it's also pretty impressive that it is still standing in relatively good condition today. My favourite fact is that it used to be able to flood to hold naval battles!!! I took so many photos, which probably all look the same but from slightly different angles because I just couldn't believe what I was seeing!
The lower level gave a closer view of what was the underground tunnels where all the slaves and animals were kept before they would be let up through trap doors for the gladiatorial games. I preferred the upper level though, because it had the best perspective of the Colosseum's sheer size with 360° views, and you could see the pathways of the underground easier.
After I had walked entirely around I headed out and did a bit of shopping on Via del Corso. I really enjoyed today and I personally enjoyed the ruins of the Palatine and the Roman Forum more than Pompeii, probably because I was able to find out more contextual information through the signs around the area. Pompeii didn't have any of those. Visiting the Colosseum was just as epic as I'd have hoped and I'm very happy I can tick one of the most iconic places on earth off the bucket list!
I think that tomorrow I am going to go to Tivoli for the day to see Hadrian’s Villa. Again, that's another thing from classics class and it looks to be amazing so I definitely want to see it while I am so nearby. I'm now halfway through my week in Rome and I am still absolutely loving it!