Day 7 started out with breakfast at around 9:00am, however it was supposed to start at 6:30am followed by a tour of the Vatican. With all the work that Faith has been doing on the archaeological dig, it seemed like a better day if we started the day a little later with a tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. At breakfast we strategized the day. Our hotel was in central Rome, a great location for all the sites, yet in a small quaint neighborhood making it quiet and safe for walking. Even surrounded by several good restaurants.
We finally strolled out of the hotel around 11am. We needed to be at the Colosseum at 3pm sharp, which gave us about 4 hours to make the 2 mile trek to the Arch of Constantine, where we would meet the tour guide.
The good news is that Rome's best shopping was on a direct route to the Colosseum. This was a nice opportunity for Faith to do some shopping and pick up some Italian fashion for the upcoming school year.
She may bring back black leather!
There were dozens of cool little boutiques and larger stores. I think Faith enjoyed being among all the fashion and people as much as she enjoyed shopping. This denim jacket might have looked nice with different clothes, but at $1800, it might not have been the right fit for Vermont winters - haha.
From shop to shop, we inched closer to our tour arrival spot. The temps were now in the high 80's though didnt feel nearly as hot as Jerusalem. It was such good weather. I think Faith takes after her mom, as the more fashion she found and liked, she would say, "oh I can probably get that online for less money".
We finally arrived at the Colosseum with much anticipation. To see this amazing structure that constructed around 70 AD. The Colosseum was built as part of an imperial effort to revitalize Rome after the previous four tumultuous emperors. As with other amphitheaters, the emperor Vespasian intended the Colosseum to be an entertainment venue, hosting gladiator fights, animal hunts, and even mock naval battles.
The floor of the Colosseum was wood with sand on top of it. It had over 70 trap doors where, Gladiators or animals like lions would appear during the games. Underneath the entire floor were animals cells, jail cells, and a series of tunnels where the staff and performers could move about. The emperor had a specific seat connected to a hidden tunnel system that would transport him directly from, "Caesars Palace" to the Colosseum about 1500 feet away. We were not allowed to see the tunnel.
Though we did see the forum, which is the area between and around Caesars Palace and the Colosseum, where Romans would gather and trade for goods. The ruins seem well preserved, though not tour safe.
This is the base of Caesar's palace. The upper floors were destroyed
We then had a couple hours for a bit more shopping and a little gelato before the night walking tour.
As we made our way to the walking tour which started at 8pm, I think we both knew we were running on fumes, but this could have been a great tour so we had to check it out. The tour started with history of some prominent fountains, one of which was the epicenter of three underground rivers and the source of Rome's great underwater aqueduct system which continues to run today.
Maybe my favorite of this tour was the Pantheon, which was built about 25 BC. Pantheon translates to "All gods". It was built as a place to worship whichever god you worshipped. The structure was architecturally way ahead of its time. It stood 43 meters in diameter and 43 meters high with a large hole directly in the middle open to both sun and rain.
It was getting late, just a bit after 9pm. If we didn't leave the tour we would most certainly miss a nice dinner.... so we grabbed a taxi and headed back to the hotel for a quick change and out to dinner. Though we wanted to try a new restaurant, we ended back at the one from the previous night. We just needed to do a better job at communicating what we wanted.
The waiter was better this time and took great direction from Faith. He let us know that fettucine alfredo was an American dish, but Faith wanted it and she let him know. She got it! And it was good!. This time I asked for a red sauce and ended up with Rigatoni with sausage. Pretty good as well. Frankly nothing special, but with Jane and my experience in Italy, the food is fresh and good, but not bursting with wonderful flavors. Not to discount the quality of the food, as you can most certainly taste the freshness.
Day 8 was pretty much a travel day back to Jerusalem which is where we are now. No significant activities to report other than we will be joining the dig team in the morning and then determine how we will spend the remainder of the week.
Faiths private jet with room for a small security detail.
Fun pic - this is the average sized car in Rome - it works well in the tiny streets of Rome, though it is about the size of Faith wing span. :)