Travels with V
Where history is alive
Rome part three
In this final part we turn our eyes to Classical Rome, with the ruins of the Roman Forum, Colosseum and also the Palatine, an area where wealthy Romans built imposing palaces. It’s also a place from where you’ll have the best overview of the Roman Forum, that today is a wide area with a rather confusing collection of ruins from different times. A very impressive building is the half-ruined Maxentius basilica, once standing 40 meters tall.
Colosseum is almost next door neighbour to the Romas Forum and here the queues are long. But thanks to our magical Tourist Card we may enter almost immediately. Inside the arena it looks more worn than we’d have thought, with lots of ugly concrete blobs. But the sheer size of this heap of stone is overwhelming. And so are the open tunnels under the stage and the walkways for the audience. The structure is very similar to what we see in moderns arenas today.
The Gianicolo park is a green lung in Trastevere with very nice views of the city. But what Gianicolo is best known for is the collection of busts depicting the soldiers of that legendary conqueror Giuseppe Garibaldi, who also has a central monument (with horse) on the hilltop. A bit further away another monument shows Garibaldi’s wife Anita (also on horse) carying a baby in one hand and wielding a pistol in the other. It tells a story of an incident in Argentina where Garibaldi fought in the 1840s.
The reason for the Garibaldi monument being placed here is that his unit successfully fought a french attack unit here in 1848. France wanted to re-establish the pope’s authority over the city of Rome, an authority Garibaldi’s republicans had deprived him of. ”Roma o morte” (Rome or death) was Garibaldi’s battle cry.
Finally, we particularly recommend Trastevere, a “bohemian” district in central Rome. It is, especially in the evenings, a very youthful place but its narrow alleys and old houses gives it a warm and classic Italian atmosphere . There are lots of small and friendly restaurants and bars here, and the feeling is that there’s always something good happening here in this unpretentious part of the eternal city, of Rome.
In the very heart of Trastevere we find the trattoria/pizzeria ”Ivos”, recommended to us by a Rome-loving friend. We have reserved a table, but somehow that reservation got lost…We have to wait in the entrance room which is also the pizza kitchen, and we’re a bit annoyed. Which leads to the waitress also being annoyed, but all of a sudden it’s just smiles all around and we’re led through the whole restaurant, room after room with loud and happy and gesturing Italians, and in the innermost room finally there’s our table. We order pizzas and seriously the best pizzas we ever tasted is served here. If something is the beating heart of Rome it’s this!
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