Friday, December 19, 2014

Rome: the Baths of Trajan, the Colosseum, and the Palatine Hill

We had another beautiful day for all these explorations; some clouds in the sky, but very sunny, bright weather, and temperatures that reached about 60 degrees. Since today was Ed's birthday, and he had expressed an interest in seeing the Colosseum on his birthday, so that was our big adventure for the day. We decided to walk so that we could see the Baths of Trajan, a site halfway between our hotel and the Colosseum, then finish the day at the Palatine Hill.

The Baths of Trajan were effectively located in what's being used as a general park; we saw quite a few people meandering through, one fellow walking his dog, and a few small children playing in a playground. And there were, of course, the occasional ruins, most of which we could not get close to because they were being restored.

From Rome & Vatican City (December 2014)

The Colosseum was less than half a mile away from the Baths, so that was our next stop. Of course, the Colosseum had a decorated Christmas tree in front of it, because nothing says happy-birthday-and-Merry-Christmas-at-the-Colosseum like a pagan symbol and a gory reminder of Christians being killed.

From Rome & Vatican City (December 2014)

There were lots of interesting-looking (and unfortunately roped-off) corridors...

From Rome & Vatican City (December 2014)

...and interesting pieces of marble lying about. This one below reads: "Decius Marius Venantius Basilius, v(ir) c(larissimus) et ini(ustrius), praef(efctus) urb(i), patricius, consul ordinarius, arenam et podium, qu(ae) abomi nandi terraemo/tus ruina pros/travit, sum(p)tu pro prio restituit."

From Rome & Vatican City (December 2014)

We wandered around both levels as much as we could. We'd been hoping to explore the ground level, which I'd heard one could do only on a tour, but Ed discovered that this particular option wasn't possible until mid-January, which of course did us no good during this visit. We were struck by the amount of marble and stone, both in block and column form, that were stacked up or piled, often roped off or stored off to the side where visitors couldn't get to them, although many pieces were also out and tended to be used for resting upon.

After the Colosseum, we headed to the Palatine Hill, passing the Arch of Constantine.

From Rome & Vatican City (December 2014)

At Palatine hill, we saw among other things the remains of an aqueduct, cisterns, various houses, and the foundation of the Palace (below), but the hill itself was very much like a park, lots of trees and grass, places to seat, and areas to explore, and paths to wander down. Everything was kept in very good shape; the hill was easy to navigate. And it smelled nice, like an outdoor park, leaves and grass and fresh air.

From Rome & Vatican City (December 2014)

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