For my third and final day in Rome, I made my way to the Colosseum for a guided tour, which included the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. I booked this tour through the same website as I did for my tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Follow this link here to see what I booked!
My group met at the Arch of Constantine to start off and our guide talked about the history of the Arch and the purpose of the Colosseum as a building. I learned that the exterior of the Colosseum used to be covered in marble. Due to the marble being removed, holes can be seen where the marble was once attached. For the Romans, recycling materials, like marble, happened frequently.
After a brief history lesson, my group made our way into the Colosseum. There, our guide debunked every historical inaccuracy of the movie, Gladiator. We were given time to take photographs before we walked around the rest of the perimeter to head towards the exit. I could not believe how different the Colosseum looked on the interior versus the exterior. Not at all what I had expected!
After touring the Colosseum, the guide led my group towards Palatine Hill, which looks above the Roman Forum and is the center-most of the seven hills that make up Rome. I learned some more history and then went with the rest of the group to look down over the Roman Forum. This area houses many ancient buildings or their remnants (i.e. columns).
Once viewing the Roman Forum from above, my group made our way down the steps and walked through the area with our guide who explained the significance behind the more important buildings.
The Roman Forum served as the end of the guided tour so I went and took some more photographs of the Colosseum before heading off in search of food. I truly do not think you can appreciate the size of the Colosseum unless you stand next to the structure in person.
Per the recommendation of a local, I walked to the Monti area of Rome. There, I found local restaurants and art/clothing shops. This area of Rome did not feel touristy at all and the alleyways charming. I settled on a sandwich from Mizio’s Cibo de Strada. For 7 euros, I received a delicious lunch! The sandwich I ate contained mozzarella, pancetta, and tomatoes on some crunchy bread. If you are in Rome and are after a quick and/or cheap lunch, I cannot recommend this place enough. When I arrived, there was a line out of the door and customers were receiving punches on their rewards cards. A sign of great food!
I plopped down in a nearby square to eat my sandwich before heading to Come il latte for some gelato, which also came highly recommended from a local. Like La Gelateria Romana, the gelato was superb and local. Eat all the gelato in Rome, but look for the restaurants where you cannot see the gelato in the display case. I promise you the best gelaterias’ product is found in an aluminum canister hidden from your eyes. Furthermore, the prices are not as steep. Do not pay more than 3 euros for two scoops of gelato!
After savoring the creamy gelato, I went to my hostel to pick up my stored bag and then headed to the bus stop to catch the bus to the Rome Ciampino airport.
After a couple of hours, I boarded my quick flight to Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, to see my host brother Enrico and his family. Enri stayed with my family last year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.
You would think a short, 1-hour flight would go without a hitch. However, myself and fellow plane mates endured the scariest landing ever! Everyone on the flight cheered and clapped when the plane finally came to a standstill.
Enrico and his father, Emilio, picked me up from the airport and whisked me away to a restaurant where I met Enrico’s mother, Marella, and his brother Emilio. To maximize the amount of Italian pizzas to try, Enrico’s family ordered 5 different pizzas! Everyone started with one pizza and then we subsequently passed them around the table, which I found hysterical! Of course, Enrico told me I started off with the “worse” pizza. I found the pizza to taste just fine!
After pizza and a beer (I learned IPA is NOT my drink of choice based on the aftertaste), we stopped by the ice cream shop next door to have some dessert. Once Enrico and I finished, he took me back to his house to get some sleep.
Leave a positive impression,