Up and at ’em after a wonderful night’s sleep. The group rallied on the sidewalk with their luggage at 8:15 after breakfast in our hotel which, by the way, is a small, modest tourist hotel smack dab in the middle of town convenient to all the gelato you can imagine. It has a wire cage elevator that holds three adults. Very old Hollywood. When overloaded it buzzes and will not operate until someone gets off.
The morning was spent in our group of 26 with as amazing a tour guide as I’ve ever had. Her style, if you will, is to paint a picture in our minds of how it was back in the day. With Rome being 3,000+ years old, back in the day is Way Back. We all had headsets so we could hang on her every word.
We toured the colosseum first and learned that it was one of 200 colosseums at the height of the Roman Empire. It held tens of thousands of people, was only used three or four times a year, and is oval, not round. The guide decribed how colorful it, along with all public buildings and monuments, was, not gray and drab like today. What did not have a colorful marble veneer was painted stucco. None of that remains today because it was judiciously recycled and used for other purposes over the last 2,000 years. The guide described the life of a gladiator, where the different classes of people sat, and how the practice of showcasing and killing exotic North African animals decimated the wild populations.
From the colosseum it was a very short walk to the Forum … the epicenter of Roman life. The guide explained the life and times as well as the ruins and how colorful and vibrant everything was. Among loads of other things, we saw the temple of the vestle virgins, a couple of triumph arches, and walked on a paved Roman road leading into the Forum.
Tid bits: At it’s height Rome had one milion citizens!!! Most of them lived in apartment buildings with no bathroom or kitchen facilties. There was one statue per every two people in its heyday. Bronze statues and decorations were popular but they were all gone (read: melted down) centuries ago.
After we turned in our headsets and left our wonderful guide, we headed out of town in the direction of Tuscany. Guess what the bus has? WiFi. I am blogging from a moving bus taking short breaks to look out at the beautiful scenery. Matt has his headphones on and he, Dan, and Emily are sleeping. Murf and Josie are taking advantage of the WiFi and the scenery.
Our destination is Volterra, about two hour north of wherever we are now. We’ll be there two nights.
In closing, a quote from Josie that was first uttered by Charles Dickens referencing the colosseum: “The most impressive, the most stately, the most solemn, grand, majestic mournful sight conceivable.”
2 thoughts on “Day three”
This was the best! Just fascinating! You could be napping and you’re taking time to share this great experience with us–we appreciate that so much!
Again Schele…you write as though I am there seeing everything! Then along with Murphy’s pictures — it is amazing!! Looking forward to more! Thanks for “sharing” the trip! Safe travels! Love you all!