Travels with V

Rom

Where history is alive

Rome part three

In this final part we turn our eyes and feet to classical Rome, with the ruins of the Roman Forum, Colosseum and also the Palatine, a high plateau area where wealthy Romans built their 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.

FORUM ROMANUM , THE PALATINE BEHIND
CAESAR SHOWS E7 ON THE GUITAR
MAXENTIUS BASILICA

Colosseum is almost next door neighbour to the Forum and here the queues are very long. But thanks to our magical Tourist Card we can enter almost immediately. Inside the arena it looks more worn and eroded than we’d have thought, with lots of ugly concrete blobs as repairment. 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 not so different from what we see in moderns arenas today. 

One green lung in this big city is the Gianicolo park on a hill in Trastevere where you’ll get some very nice views of the city. But what Gianicolo is best known for is the collection of busts depicting soldiers of the legendary conqueror Giuseppe Garibaldi, who has a central monument (on horse) here.  A bit further away another monument shows Garibaldi’s wife Anita (also on horse) carying a baby in one hand and a pistol in the other. It illustrates 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 spending some time in 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 village atmosphere . There are lots of  small and friendly restaurants and bars here, and the feeling is that there’s always something good happening in this unpretentious part of the eternal city, of Rome.

VIEW FROM GIANICOLO TOWARDS TRASTEVERE

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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