|Colosseum on the left and the Roman Forum||ahead|
buildings of the past for people to see today. People have worked so hard at keeping them restored. Ruins are dotted around the city, from the old Roman Forum to the baths and the training grounds for the gladiators. The Colosseum still has parts of the old building but have also had new structures added to it to ensure that visitors and locals alike can still revel in a brutal yet astonishing history.
As for modern day Rome, I have never felt so comfortable in a city before. I never had the chance to learn Italian at school and all I had with me was a phrasebook and random pieces and sentences of Italian to get me through. Those lovely Italians were really patient with me as I attempted to speak the language. But the entire city was friendly. You step into a taxi, a hotel, a bus, restaurant... anywhere and you'll hear the words 'prego' every time. It's a custom in Italy to say that which seemed to generally mean 'welcome' or 'please do'. You say 'grazie' to them and they'll respond with 'prego'. You walk into a restaurant, ask for a table and they'll direct you uttering 'prego'. I think it's purpose is a general pleasantry.
As well as being friendly it is absolutely busy and I'll admit the roads are a little scary. Cars weave in and out of each other as they move yet they seem to do it with such grace. Most people ride on scooters to avoid the heavy traffic that can build up. I guarantee you'll always find a spot in Rome where there is nothing in parking spaces apart from a long line of scooters.
|Inside the Colosseum|
One of the best things about going in August was waiting for night to fall and going to one of the restaurants near by. It was gorgeous sitting under a shelter when it was a bit cooler but still warm enough to wear a summer dress with a cold pint of beer and your meal in front of you. I'll say this, Italians know how to cook. The lasagna melted in your mouth, the pizzas were huge, and at one restaurant we had the most amazing steak I've ever tasted. It wasn't a flat piece that I usually find in my local supermarket, this was a huge chunk of steak. Served with a bit of salad it was perfect. Everything I ate was perfect. This was literally me for the whole trip:
And the most interesting fact I learned: The Colosseum isn't actually the Colosseum. That building is the Flavian Amphitheatre and gained the name in Medieval times. One of theories say it got its namesake from being near to the Colossus of Nero, a giant bronze statue. This is where the statue used to stand:
|Around the Catacombs of San Callisto|