Italy Day 1: Ancient Rome

January 1, 2012

Welcome to Ancient Rome. Finally, right? Be prepared because today contains a lot of pictures...and this is technically the 3rd post for day one. It is looking like we may not finish this post series until 2013 ha! Today's post begins with our group meeting up with our guide for the first time and being taken through the Forum, Colosseum, and the other things that lie in that area. I can tell you what everything is, but only the names of the big things. I seriously learned so much that by the time I journaled it I had forgotten names...but I sure can tell you stories.
The picture above is of the basilica, but not what the type of basilica you think of concerning the church. In ancient Rome the basilica was use as a place to hold meetings. It wasn't until the early Christians had come in to Rome that you began to see this building transformed into a traditional church.  The entrance was even changed. During pagan times the entrance was at the far end of the flat stone filled area your are looking at. The during the early church it was moved to where I was standing so that when one walked in the view you saw was down a long "hallway", much like Catholic churches today, to the view of an alter and crucifix. 

 This area is the original forum. This was simply a meeting place for locals to get together and debate politics and discuss whatever was going on in town. Christina, our guide, pointed out that with every new emperor of Rome the forum was added onto or moved so that it was fitting to what the new ruler wanted.

Walking through the Forum.

 This is the bank of Rome in ancient time. It actually had no doors, but was never once was robbed.
 This brick pattern is why people today refer to the thin bricks on houses as Roman brick.

 There was an excavation being done in the Forum that I think pertained to Nero.
 I can't remember what this building was exactly, but it contained a brief history of Nero and several pieces pertaining to him.

 Christina teaching us about this building and Nero. Behind her are busts of Nero.

 I loved the ceiling in here.
 The busts in the Nero exhibit. This is where my Nikon died, so the rest of the post are phone pics.

Here we are walking towards the Imperial Palace on Palatine Hill. Above is the Temple of Vesta. 

 This area also contained the House of the Vestal Virgins that tended the flame within the Temple of Vesta. Below are statues of the senior vestals The Vestals were young girls chosen by patrician families to serve for 30 years. Once their service was complete they were basically the most free women alive in Rome and even had the ability to pardon criminals. 

Imperial Palace where it is believed Augustus was born. 
 I think this was a temple, but neither Jeremy or I can remember exactly. I do know though that it was buried all the way up to the top dome. Actually all of ancient Rome was buried because Romans thought that it was dirty and so they proceeded to build modern Rome on top of ancient Rome...hence the fact everything there as been excavated.

 This was built to commemorate a war between the Jews and Romans.
 The side pictured is of the Jews fighting, the opposite depicts the Romans.

 Walking down the path to the Colosseum.
 Jeremy at the Colosseum. Bad pic I know, I couldn't get a good focus.
 I thought this was really cool. Christina told us that Rome has a huge problem with locks, also known as Lovers Locks. All over the city you can find places where couples have written their names on locks and locked them to various things. Supposedly the city has to cut the locks off frequently.

 In the Colosseum. While here Christina told us something very interesting. (a little back story on her-she is an archeologists. way cool) Even though people have made it "common knowledge" that Christians were persecuted within the Colosseum there is no historical or archeological proof it occurred right here. Yes, it happened, and gladiators were killed here, but Christians were not executed here. Don't get me wrong, Christians were persecuted in Rome, but the thought that they were killed within the Colosseum is false. In fact the gladiators who were killed here were once acquired as slaves and could win freedom...eventually they were celebrities and people wanted to be gladiators.
 Now, even though it has been proven Christians were not murdered here the Pope still has Easter service at this very spot by this cross.

 From here you can see the cross where we were standing in the bottom right corner. All along the ground level was once technically underground. There was a stage on top of it with trap doors where they could release tigers and other animals to the games, as a total game changer. This whole area was once flooded to allow for a faux naval battle.

 Our group taking pictues...we did a whole lot of this.

 Jeremy and I, ratty as every at the end of the day after having flown 13 hours with no real bath. My hair was so greasy.
 View from the upper level of the Colosseum.

That is all for day one in Rome. After we left Ancient Rome we went out to eat at a place that spoke horrible English and gave us our first glimpse of how Italians do not like to split checks, and charge the dickens out of your for water.

The next post will cover our adventure of catching a train to Napoli. Boy was that something.