Day two of our trip, we took an early morning flight out of Dublin to Rome with Ryanair. We got to the airport and walked straight to the area where we picked up our Roma Pass we had purchased before our trip (recommend), then purchased a bus ticket to El Centro Termini (central metro terminal). We learned quickly that Rome, in general, felt warm/hot/muggy, and we had just come from Ireland where it was chilly, so the coats came flying off and we both wished we had packed tank tops, shorts, and sandals, yes even Ryan wanted a tank top at this point. The coolest thing I packed was a t-shirt which I figured would be fine, but with no A/C almost every place you go, it can get a bit…sweaty. Just FYI. We changed clothes in the airport while waiting for our bus that seemed as if it would never come. As Americans, we had to get over ourselves real quick, because as we also learned, outside of flight times and Vatican tours, nothing really sticks to a strict time table. We had learned so much already and had only been in Rome an hour or so. The bus dropped us off at the central terminal and then we took the train to the Colosseo stop where our apartment was located.
We were blown away when we stepped off the train, and walked out of the station to this.
I figured we’d have to walk a little ways to get to it or something but it just towers over everything from the moment you step out of the station. I would say this is the moment when Ryan and my obsession with the Colosseum started. It was also this moment when Ryan and I were super excited and thankful that we had decided to rent an apartment just down the road from it.
By the time we actually got to our apartment it was noon. We rented our apartment through airbnb and it worked out splendidly. We arrived and met our host, who was so kind and helpful, she showed us around her place.
Trying not to waste any daylight hours, we dropped off our bags and headed out as quickly as we could to spend the rest of the day touring the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palentine Hill.
I mentioned the Roma Pass earlier. This would have allowed us to expedite the lines at the Colosseum, but we chose to pay for a tour as well, which isn’t necessary but something we decided to do to get us in even faster and learn some things we would have never learned on our own. The tour we paid for was two parts, the first being the Colosseum, and the second part was a tour through the Roman Forum. If you had the Roma Pass you paid a discounted price for a tour and didn’t stand in any lines waiting for entrance into the Colosseum. Normally, we wouldn’t care about standing in a line, but we knew we didn’t have the luxury of time, so we gave the money and moved on. There are many tours and guides all standing around the entrance to the Colosseum trying to convince you to tour with them, so it isn’t hard to find a tour if you want to go on one (no need to try and book in advance). It is hard, however, to know if you’re choosing the right one since there are so many. Our tour ended up being just fine, and like I said, if nothing else, allowed us fast entrance into the Colosseum, which is really what we needed.
If you want a tour of the area under what used to be the floor of the arena where they kept the gladiators and animals, you need to book this tour ahead of time. It is a special tour and they only allow so many people down there a day. I thought it was so cool to see some of the original brick exposed here. Looking out from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum A lot of the Colosseum was covered in scaffolding, while they try to clean and preserve it in sections.
After we were through at the Colosseum we were led to our guide for the Roman Forum, who was fantastic, and actually studying to be a certified guide in Rome. He was telling us all about what he had to do for testing and it sounded really difficult, clearly requiring years of study.
The Arch of Titus There was a lot of walking. My suggestion is bring light, airy, and comfortable shoes to Rome. We finished up the tour, TIPPED OUR GUIDE, and walked to a good viewing point from a rooftop terrace at a nearby museum (free admission) to go watch the sun set over the Forum.
Made sure to walk past the Colossum for the umpteenth time on the way to grab some dinner.
Then went back at night look at it again. I told you it was an obsession. The only way I can describe what we ate for dinner is that is was a giant crust explosion filled with cured meats- yeah that’ll do. It was delicious, but incredibly salty to those of us who aren’t used to eating that kind of thing. The crust was just bubbled up around the meat and inside was Pancetta, Ham, Salami, and Prosciutto. We ordered it because the table behind us ordered it and we could tell they were thoroughly enjoying it by all their “mmm this is good” sounds. We resisted the urge to say aloud, but definitely thought to ourselves “when in Rome” and also ordered Bruschetta (we had to get our vegetables in)
After this we went home with the meat sweats (‘Friends’ reference). Totally worth it. We were fine carbo loading due to the fact that we were going to need energy with the next day being crammed with sight seeing as well.