If you read yesterday’s blog then you know what the real title of today’s blog is. The Colluseum in Rome is bout 2,000 years old and the day that we come to see it — it looks like this! Scaffolding all over the outside – travesty! Where are the historic preservationists? This can’t be right. This would not be such a big deal except this is becoming a trend. It was not mentioned but in Vienna, St Stephens was covered by scaffolding on one side. Now the Colosseum and it turns out also the Arch of Constantine! I didn’t even know how important the Arch of Constantine was to Christianity until Rick Steves told me and now I can’t see and appreciate it as well as I should.
A good portion of the ruins in Rome are still being excavated. It was difficult to get a picture anywhere without scaffolding, plastic tarps or general toolage lying around. It is not high tourist season so hopefully they just do the work in the off-season. The Colosseum is part of a group ticket with the Roman Forum and Palentine Hill. We found the line to get tickets at the Colosseum and it was looooooong. So we took a hint from Rick Steves and bought our ticket at Palentine Hill. See how long the line is – how arduous it is for the children to wait?
As Brent put it – Palentine Hill was the Beverly Hills of Rome back in the day. Now it is a bunch of rubble, not really worth much. There re so many columns that they haven’t had time to figure out where they belong and they are just strewn about where little 9 year old boys can jump all over them. They has some intact homes but it is unclear if you can actually get into them. They were covered and had dirty windows which you could peer into – but it was like being a peeping Tom into someone’s house. We cut our time short on Palentine and headed to the Forum.
The Roman Forum is cool – it has all the pictures you have ever seen and you can finally see them in their rightful place. Today was not a good picture day – the clouds often shaded the area and the picture would not turn out very well. We will obviously need to return. Rick Steves had a nice write up of the Forum so we toured while reading his interpretation of the area. We saw where Caesar was assassinated and his temple. This was a bit of history where the children had some familiarity.
Comparing Roman ruins to those we have toured in the US (old Native American dwellings) the Romans get the better score for access. They let you walk all around the area. As previously stated – if they don’t know where to place a piece of column – it’s just lying out in the open for tourist to sit on and catch their breath. There are things behind chains but it still felt like better access than Mesa Verde and the like. Of course at Bandelier we were climbing ladders – so maybe it is about equal access. But Rome sure gets style points.
The Colosseum was as impressive as we hoped it would be. From another angle the scaffolding is not as noticeable. With our ticket already purchased at Palentine Hill, we walked right by the folks waiting to buy theirs and started the tour. We didn’t do anything formal, just wandered around on our own with our mouths open and read anything they had written in English.
The interior is accessible from 2 different levels and we took many photos. At times we would siddle up to a tour group that had a leader speaking English. It’s a little trick we have picked up as we go along. We don’t hang with them too long just get tidbits and move along. There are audio guides in English but the children don’t have the patience to listen to their long soliloquys of important historical and architectural facts. However, if Brenna wants a guide, we get it for her. But then she gets left behind and must suffer the wrath of her siblings asking her where she has been and why it takes her so long. Maybe this is just a taste of Europe for her and she can return on her own in the future to really get to see and know some of these amazing cities and relics.