Rome – Day 2 – Colesseum & Forum

Today began with the discovery that the ePC we’d plugged in to the converter then into the wall did not charge overnight as planned and was totally drained. Since that’s the only one of our four rechargeable devices (iPad, Nook and camera are the other three), we’re totally unable to upload photos tonight and probably also not on Friday. Technical challenges still abound after trying to prop up the converter, figuring out the touchy light switches and resorting to sitting in one spot holding the converter to the wall (that didn’t last long…). So, today’s post will be shorter and will not include photos — those may have to wait until we’re on the cruise ship Saturday. Hopefully I’ll have an awesome connection then and be able to upload all the Rome photos for you!

We didn’t set the alarm today, so we almost missed breakfast on the rooftop, however we just made it in time. The day was overcast and no where near as warm as yesterday after last night’s rain. The restaurant was lovely and allowed the morning breezes to waft through. We were expecting an offering of dry cereals, muffins and coffee, however the buffet selection was delightful from eggs, several meats, grilled veggies and fruit to granola and chocolate cake (which I had to try). It was such a great way to start the day that we plan to eat there for the next 2 mornings!

Today’s agenda included the Colosseum and the Forum along with a side trip to St. Peter in Chains to see Michelangelo’s Moses with horns – because the Hebrew word for “rays” was misinterpreted as “horns” – and the chains that bound Peter when he was a captive of the Roman’s in Jerusalem First we acquired our tickets then headed to lunch. As you may have surmised, we got a late start today. Lunch was very light – soup for Denny and salad for me. The church was two blocks from our lunch venue, which was very convenient, as well as being two blocks the other direction from the Colosseum. Nicely planned, Denny!

The Colosseum was huge and impressive as well as sobering to see the small cells where animals, Christians and gladiators were kept before the games. The Colosseum itself brings to mind today’s football stadiums – thankfully blood sports are no longer spectator sports.

The Forum was the center of Roman life and composed of many government buildings and temples. Through its center runs the Via Sacra, the main street upon which, among other things, triumphal marches of conquering heroes passed. At one end of the Forum is the Arch of Titus which was built by Jewish slave labor after Titus’s return to Rome following his defeat of the Jews and destruction of their temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. The only remnant of that temple is the Wailing Wall. The Jewish slaves also built the Colosseum.

The House of the Vestal Virgins is beside the Temple of Vesta which was a sacred spot containing an eternal flame which was tended by the Vestal Virgins. The House of the Vestal Virgins was huge containing many rooms and a lovely garden with reflecting pools for their pleasure. Each girl’s tenure as a Vestal Virgin was 30 years, and all were chosen from noble families before the age of 10. If they remained chaste for 30 years, they were given a large dowry and allowed to marry. If they did not, they were given a loaf of bread and jug of water then buried alive. Yikes!  The House of the Vestal Virgins is the model that was used by the Catholic Church for convents.

Rain began just as we finished viewing the Forum, so we headed back to the hotel for a short rest before heading out to dinner just a couple blocks away – where we had lunch yesterday. After an amazing vegetarian meal, we’re now back in the room and ready for a good sleep before heading to the Vatican in the morning.

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