It is now my fifth day in Rome and I’m just getting a chance to write about my first day. I’m visiting for May term for school and doing an insanely intense 10 day cram of Rome. It’s been fascinating so far, you know me, I love old stuff! Arriving in Rome was a typical foreign travel fiasco as expected; screaming babies and coughing ladies on the plane, creepy people on the train and bad directions to the hostel so I ended up walking with my luggage way more than was necessary. The hostel is fairly nice and clean and located closely to the train station. The community bathrooms are fortunately at least combated by a pretty sweet rooftop terrace.
Day one was exhausting. I left Newark, NJ at 4:50 p.m. and arrived in Rome at 1:15 a.m., 7:15 a.m. Roman time without a wink of sleep. We started at 3:30 in the afternoon at the Colosseum. The thing I’m enjoying the most is the fact there can be bsolutely NO separation of the old and the new in Rome. There are literally buildings ranging from the year 72 to 2011 standing side beside all throughout the city.
The Colosseum (built AD 72-80) is huge and includes an extremely interesting history. This structure was originally a huge amphitheater and entertainment arena. Unlike nowadays where we play football and hockey, they fought bulls and lions and raced ostriches. So, looking at the photographs imagine a solid floor over the labyrinth of brick walls in the base of the arena. This is obviously where all the fighting would have gone down and the tunnels below are where the warriors or prisoners and animals were kept between fights.
Next, we enjoyed a scenic and information perusal up Palatine Hill: which is one of the seven famous hills of Rome. We saw the Arch of Constantine, the remains of some old aqueducts (always strangely cool), and we went into the Palatine Antiquarium Museum at the top of the hill and enjoyed some beautiful views of Rome from this very “parkesque” site.
From here my professor and her husband were able to orient us to the city of Rome, utilizing many of the most famous buildings (and places we would be going) as markers. We received excellent advice from Charlotte (our prof) about riding on public transportation, “Keep your hands on your business!” meaning our purses. Oh, Charlotte. Last but not least, always the best part of the day was dinner at Maranega’s at the Campo de’Fiori. I had a spicy salame pizza that was unfortunately nowhere near as tasty as Manny’s. I have discovered, however, that Manny’s is most definitely a “Roman style” pizza. Long day and a big meal meant right back to the hostel to reenergize for a super-charged Tuesday!