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Day 15

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What a perfect day! They weather was wonderful and everyone was commenting on it because they have been having so much rain and today was sunny and clear skies a lot of the day. Anyway our day started early with breakfast and walking. We walked over 3 miles to get to our 9:40 tour of the Coliseum. We were both very glad that we bought a guided tour that took us on 3 different levels. You can't go in the bottom or the top without a guide. So we went first on the level where the wooden platform would have been where all the action would have taken place. Our guide is an archeologist so she knew what she was talking about. She explained how it all would have work. When they had festival days they started early with hunts where they would bring in wild animals not native to the area and set up the ground area with trees and such scenery to make it look natural for the hunts. They used a pulley and trap door system to get the things up to the performance level.

After seeing that level we went down to the bottom level where the 600 slaves would have been working to set things up and operate all the elevators and such to make everything work. It was way cool down in the bottom and we got to see things others couldn't. I would have loved to walk freely around there but they don't let anyone do that. The bottom area was extremely well preserved because until the 1830's it was totally buried by rubble from earth quakes and soil and such so that it had not been pillaged during the crusades. They lower level had over 60 elevators that the slaves operated with pulleys. There was no natural light down there because it was completely covered by the wooden platform. They had to use torches and oil lamps which with a wooden ceiling was hazardous. With everything written about what happened in the Coliseum there is a lot known about it but there are no writings about what happened in the underground part so most of it is supposition.

Next we toured the middle part where people of importance would have sat. Seating totally reflected your station in life. The most important people had the best seats up close but everyone had a seat. It was all free and the reason they had the festive days was to help bring popularity to the ruler. The place would have held 70,000 people!

Next we climbed some really steep stairs to reach the upper level. It was a real climb but the view was fantastic. We could see the surrounding areas plus a great overview of the Coliseum. We stayed up there and took lots of pictures. Then we were aloud to just roam around the grounds as long as we wanted.

After taking a few more pictures and walking back down lots of steps, we left the Coliseum and went to Palatine hill where there are ruins of Nero's castle and other archeological areas. We walked around there for quite awhile and then walk to the Roman Forum ruins. After awhile they all started looking the same and I was getting hungry! So we walked and took pictures while looking for some place to eat. We found a little place and had prosciutto pizzas and wine for lunch. We had decided to eat a big late lunch and then just snack for dinner again. It was nice so we sat outside-ish. It was an open wall and we sat at the edge. The food was good and it felt very good to rest our legs.

On our way back to our B&B we went back by the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, and the Piazza Navona. At the piazza there were artists all over the place. When we had gone by the day before yesterday there had been a few but it had been raining so today with beautiful skies they were everywhere. It was fun walking through. We had more gelato as we walked. We both had strawberry and mango. It was so yummy. We passed through St. Peter's square again and walked back along the Vatican wall.

By the time we got back to our B&B it was after 4:30 and we were pooped! We rested and Glenn worked on pictures. We had to get stuff packed up again for our final leg tomorrow. We already have our boarding passes to London so we don't have to leave here quite as early. We are both ready to be home but this has been a wonderful trip!!!!!

Posted by MaryDavis 09:03 Archived in Italy

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