3 Pinnacles of Rome – After spending half the day roaming the streets of the eternal city, with much anticipation, I finally found myself at the Roman Forum.
Surrounded by history, my feet took over and my exhaustion from the day’s activities subsided. From Piazza Venezia, I began the trek towards the Colosseum. Looking to my right I immediately saw the ruins of the Roman Senate and Tempio di Saturno. Built first by none other than Julius Caesar himself, this forum served as the epicenter of politics, religion, economic endeavors, and saw the birth of the first Republican Government.
There’s nothing quite like staring directly at the annals of history. It puts in rather lucid perspective how relatively quickly empires rise and fall.
As I continue my awe inspired march down Via dei Fori Imperiali, a most
familiar structure rises on the horizon. I approach and I could only describe the feeling of gazing up at the one and only Colosseum as looking at one of the most majestic sites in all the world.
Skipping the Line to Get in the Colosseum
After wading through the swaths of people all looking to enter the Colosseum, I’m extremely happy to have pre-booked my ticket. Having chosen the ‘skip the line’ option, I stroll past some annoyed faces and quickly enter. My ticket covers entry to the upper and lower sections of the Colosseum.
The upper level hasn’t been open to the public in over 40 years. So, now being able to access these levels is a privilege. However, in an ironic twist of history, the upper levels were reserved for plebeians (the poorest social class in ancient Rome).
Following my trip around the upper levels I begin the short descent to the area in which gladiators were held before fights. This area also held exotic animals which were used to entertain the masses through brutal battles in the arena.
Seeing this area leaves you absolutely breathless. Though this place was once the setting for both the utmost levels of entertainment imaginable at that time and the site of gruesome competitions among men, now visiting the Colosseum is nothing short of stunning. Standing among such history, I found it difficult to depart. Yet another ageless site remains to be explored.
Palatine Hill and Circo Massimo
Just down the street from the Colosseum lies the Palatine Hill. Overlooking Circo Massimo, it’s one of the most famous of the Seven Hills in Rome. Although Palatine Hill has a rich history and has been called the center of ancient Rome, this hill is often overlooked by tour companies. Palatine Hill should be visited if only for the gorgeous views it offers of Circo Massimo (the old chariot racing site), Aventine Hill, the Roman Forum, and it even offers a unique view of the Colosseum. Inside, you’ll find the Farnese Gardens, the Flavian Palace, the Palatine Museum, the Houses of Augustus and Livia, and the Stadium of Domitian.
The feeling I had after traversing these historic sites was utter amazement, its hard to believe that history has been so well preserved through the centuries. Yet, after having visited these three pinnacles of Rome, its hard not to imagine all roads leading to Rome.