Friday, August 1, 2008

Gladiators. Ruins. Trap (Tourist).

Julius Caesar Lego-fied. Lol.

Itinerary for the day: Colosseum. Palatine Hills. Miscellaneous cathedrals and fountains. I took the adorable life-sized Lego Roman soldier/emperor (?) above at a general snack stall near the Colosseum. =)

The colossal amphitheatre

The floor of the Coloseum in the ancient times used to be filled with sand, to absorb the blood shed by fallen gladiators and/or prisoners who were forced to partake in brutal battles with each other or with wild and exotic beasts, purely for entertainment purpose. The public was free to enter the Colosseum to view the battles. The lower the social class, the higher up their seats will be. The front row seats are occupied by the likes of the emperor and his entourage. From the sheer size (able to accomodate 50,000 to 70,000 spectators) and architectural brilliance of the Colosseum, it is no wonder that this world renowned enormity became a blueprint for many modern sports stadiums today. It's one of my favourite ruin in Rome. So, being in this place helped alleviate the feeling of being baked by the relentless sun. Did I mention that Mr Irish's cap was a fresh purchase to protect his alabaster skin? Lol.

While exploring the Colosseum, I would be unconsciously reminded of the movie "Jumper". Envious -- the stars (Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson) had the opportunity to visit the lower levels, whereby its access is normally restricted to the public. I'm guessing there's an intricate labryinth beneath, which would have been really fun to explore! sigh~

The famous Arch of Constantine

Outside the Colosseum. I feel like a kid. Lol.

Palatine Hills

Along the way to Palatine Hills , we bought some iced bottled water each. Guess how much a bottle costs?? 3 Euros (S$6 equiv) !! Either drop 3 Euros or die of thirst. This is why this place's a tourist trap (refer to title above). What's worse, the bottle contains ice, not iced water. So, not only do we pay S$6 for a chunk of ice, we had to go thirsty a tad longer before the ice melts. Best!!!

3 Euros a-piece.

Palatine Hills is the residential area of the rich ancient Romans. As it is largely in ruins, without outstanding features, we left this place after a short while. Of course, there's always the reliably hardworking Mr Sun to fry us should we get complacent. Next we metro-ed to Palazzo Barberini for lunch and some fountain/church sighting.

Yummy penne at a cozy Italian restaurant

Fontana del Tritone (spied across the road)

The cross-section of the road where the Quattro Fontane is located.

One of the Quatro Fontane

Got lost while trying to find our way to some cathedral and stumbled upon another cathedral - Sant Andrea al Quirinale. Come to think of it, it's a personal favourite so far. It's the first cathedral we visited in Rome, and one of the most quaint. The best thing about Rome is - getting lost is actually a good thing! However, we don't get lost too often. My map reading skills aren't too bad. heh.

Fascinating ceiling.

If you look closely, the angels appear to be clamouring to the top, to the heavens, I reckon.

Walked to Piazza di Repubblica, which is surrounded by a dignified semi-circle of buildings (hotels, cathedrals, etc). In the centre, rose the majestic Fontana delle Naiadi, with its sea monsters and nymphs, very cool (pun fully intended). Ms Rehau and myself had a lovely time soaking our tired feet into the cool waters. Mr Irish went off somewhere taking pictures.

Mr Irish did a good job snapping the nymphs

Last stop of the day was Santa Maria degli Angeli, just behind the lovely fountain. Apparently the church was built after a Sicilian priest had a vision of angels here in 1541.

The ceilings of the Roman churches starts to get familiar after a while

My Zodiac! On the floor, where the 12 zodiac representations were said to regulate time up till the 1846.

Before I go, some photo credits to both Ms Rehau and Mr Irish for the pictures used throughout the europe trip blog. I chose my favourites from our pool of photos. The power of Ms Rehau's 10x zoom plus wide lenses camera certainly wins out most of the time though. heh.

Goggle eyed tourist signing off

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