The Morning Tour

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Before we began the vacation, Cindy had arranged with a tour guide she'd heard about to take us on a personal tour of Rome  -- Luca Capparucci.  We were to meet him at the Colosseum.


So off we went from the Aberdeen to the nearby Piazza della Repubblica where we caught a taxicab to the Colosseum.


Actually all three of us had already been to the Colosseum -- Bill had been there twice before -- but Luca seemed to want to show it to us so we let him.  Besides, we might learn something new.


Same old Colosseum.  Impressive as ever, though.


Whatever.   This is great.


Luca points out the hill across the way where Caligula or somebody lived. Right now the city wants to build something on the property but you can't put an office building on top of a Roman archeological site, so there it sits, looking like a pretty park.  Getting permission to build anything in Rome can be tricky.




The floor of the Colosseum was made of wood and under it were the dressing rooms for the gladiators and the cages for the lions and other animals.  See how it worked?


Asphalt has been poured over the bricks to protect them from the elements.


Bill contemplates giving the place thumbs up.


Luca explains it all to Patty and Bill.  It's a cool but beautiful day.


See where brickwork was added in the 19th century to keep the place from deteriorating even further?


The building was originally covered in marble and bronze.  After it was deserted following the fall of the Roman Empire, all the bronze was removed to be melted down to make weapons and the marble was removed to build palaces for popes.  The colosseum became little more than a quarry.  Those holes were left behind when the bronze and marble pieces were removed.


Still impressive though, isn't it?


This is a path trodden Julius Caesar.  It's in the Roman Forum area, adjacent to the Colosseum.


Luca explains the history of the Roman Caesars.


There's the Arch of Constantine up ahead.


It's Vento Forte Movie Time!
This Episode: Luca Explains it All

Luca was a fine guide.



And this is where a church has been constructed behind a pagan temple.


Here's where Julius Caesar was cremated.  Just behind those stones.


The Romans still put flowers on his grave.


That building is a replica of the building where the Roman Senate met.


Constantine's Arch is very elaborate.


Arches were built to commemorate major victories in war.  There are lots of arches in Rome.


Bill gazes up on the hill -- actually it's the Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome -- at the palace where Augustus Caesar lived.  Claudius lived there too.

Doesn't look like much now with all the scaffolding, but in its day it was really something.  That's where the events described in "I Claudius" took place.  Wow.



Bill inquires about a restroom.


And he was directed to the fanciest Johnny on the Job he'd ever seen.  Do your thing and pull that lever and a drum spins and everything's clean as a whistle.  At least that's what Patty said.  When Bill pulled the lever he heard a click but nothing happened.  Hope he didn't break it.


This used to be city hall.  The bottom of the building was designed by Romans.  The tower on the right was designed by somebody in the dark ages.  The top was designed by Michelangelo.  None of it looks great.


See the little old beggar lady all bent over?  Patty says it's a scam -- that she's a 20-something gypsy. 


This is the jail where Peter and Paul were imprisoned.


Bill snaps a picture of Romulus and Remus and the she-wolf.


And this is the picture he snapped of the founders of Rome.


Looking down on the Roman Forum from the Capitoline Hill.


How do they get their trees to do that, anyway?


Pretty flags; pretty trees; pretty park.


Luca said this is the only great bronze statue remaining from the Roman Empire.  He said it was saved from being melted down to make weapons because the Church thought this was a statue of the first Christian Emperor, Constantine.  Turns out that's not Constantine, but so what?  It's a marvelous statue.


That's a statue of Rome.  Know how to tell?  See little Romulus and Remus on the left?


That's a statue of Egypt.  Know how to tell?  See the little Sphinx on the right?


This square was designed by Michelangelo.  That guy really designed a lot around here, didn't he?


That's either Romulus or Remus, hard to say.


These steps up to the plaza are rather unusual.  There are some other, more normal looking and actually more attractive steps just to the left.  But you'd be crazy to want to climb all those steps when you can take this easy walkway up to the plaza.  These steps were designed, of course, by Michelangelo.


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