The Colosseum, Rome

Laura and the Colosseum, Rome

After a wander around the gorgeous Villa Borghese Gardens, we went back into the city to tick off more items on our Roman checklist. Visiting the Colosseum was certainly an itinerary highlight for this day. We began to slowly wander towards the Colosseum for an afternoon tour. There were a few things to see along the way, however. These include the iconic Spanish Steps, and a number of other iconic and historical sites of Rome.

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Not far from the exit of Villa Borghese Gardens, you may well come across the Piazza del Popolo. Next to the Via Flaminia, this particular square is where immigrations typically arrived into Rome during the Roman Empire. It actually translates to The People’s Square, and is the centre of three important streets. Each of these streets, in fact, serve important functions as some of the main high streets of Rome, including Via del Corso.

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

For the best view of the piazza, climb the stairs of Pincio Park. You’ll spot the prominent Egyptian obelisk, Flaminio Obelisk, in the centre. Dedicated to Ramesses II, it was built in the Circus Maximus in the tenth century. Here, you’ll also find Santa Maria del Popolo, a basilica with two beautiful Caravaggio canvases with Renaissance decoration. Additionally, two other churches that appear identical from the outside attract a number of visitors each day.

Flaminio Obelisk, Rome

Spanish Steps, Rome

We walked on through the Piazza del Popolo towards the city. En route, we were near another, more famous Roman square – the Piazza di Spagna. It’s one of the most visited squares in Rome. You’ll know you’re getting close when you begin to pass row after row of designer fashion houses. Italy’s famous for it’s style, after all.

Shops near the Spanish Steps, Rome

The Piazza di Spagna is a wonderful example of Italian Baroque style. You’ll most likely have also heard of the Spanish Steps. The Spanish influence here hails from the nearby Spanish Embassy for the Vatican from the seventeenth century. The Spanish Steps date back to a little later, at the beginning of the eighteenth century. They connect the Piazza di Spagna with the Church of Trinità dei Monti.

Spanish Steps, Rome

While we were visiting, unfortunately, the Spanish Steps were undergoing a thorough refurbishment and clean. There are 135 steps, and each year in July, the Donne Sotto le Stelle fashion show prepares and decorates the steps for the exhibition. Locals and visitors love the Spanish Steps for relaxing and enjoying the views of the Piazza di Spagna. We were so hot by this point that we had to sit near the Fontana della Barcaccia in the square to cool off for a little while.

The Pantheon, Rome

As with all my travels, I truly believe that the best way to see a new place is by walking. Before we knew it, we were back in one of Rome’s most loved areas, near the Pantheon. Not before I could pose as Pinocchio – well, Pinocchio is Italian after all.

Laura as Pinocchio in Rome

Finding ourselves back at the Pantheon, we got a glimpse of this deeply historic monument in the day time. We took a look inside.

Pinocchio near the Colosseum, Rome

Finally completed in 126AD, the Pantheon was a Roman temple. It’s also the best kept building from ancient Rome. What’s surprising about the architecture of the building is that it has an oculus that serves as its main source of light. Another surprising fact is that it has the same diameter as its height, and the dome is larger than that of St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Ceiling of the Pantheon, Rome
Inside the Pantheon, Rome near the Colosseum

Inside the Pantheon, you’ll see the tombs of several Italian kings, as well as some ancient artwork. The legendary artist, Raphael, is also buried within the Pantheon. It was pretty amazing to see inside such an incredibly old building. It’s pretty opulent with its dark and rich gold colours. Outside the Pantheon is a bustling area of people admiring the building or dining at a restaurant. Don’t pull a rookie move like us and eat or drink here. It’s very targeted at tourists, not entirely authentic, and pretty expensive.

The Colosseum, Rome

At last – the wonderful Colosseum. Although we got a good glimpse of the Colosseum on our first day in Rome, we planned to go inside it. It’s one of the most remarkable buildings in the world, and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Each year, it attracts an impressive six million visitors. Not bad going. On the way to the Colosseum, you’ll likely pass Trajan’s Forum. This is the largest and final of the Imperial Forums, dating back to 106 AD. It was the basis of the government and politics of the Roman Empire. Here was once a basilica, two libraries, a few markets, and a temple.

Trajan's Forum and the ancient ruins of Rome, Italy near the Colosseum

We peeked across at the ancient ruins in awe, before powering on to the Colosseum. Rome’s most famous and iconic symbol is steeped in nearly 2000 years of history, back to the Empire. It was once the greatest Roman ampitheatre in the world, completed back in 80 AD.

Colosseum, Rome

Active for over 500 years, it served as a gladiatorial arena with 50,000 seats for spectators. Here, they could watch caged animals, gladiators fighting animals, and even each other. Since then, it has endured earthquakes, lootings, and even World War II bombings. Nowadays, you can wander the ancient ruins and see what life was once like at the Colosseum.

Colosseum, Rome

Our final meal in Italy called for pizza, naturally. We were so sad not to have any more Italian food that we even ordered a side dish of carbonara. The food in Rome was impeccable. On the recommendation of our concierge, we hit up Ristorante Zeus, opposite Hotel Quirinale.

Hotel Quirinale, Rome near the Colosseum
Pizza in Rome, Italy after the Colosseum

Rome, you’ve been a dream. I can’t wait to explore more of Italy in the future.


What are your favourite things to do in Rome? Where do you find the best bites to eat?

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Laura
Laura

I’m Laura, a roaming blonde who recently made the leap from my home in the Cotswolds, UK to be based across the pond in Vancouver, BC for a brand new job and plenty of adventures.

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3 Comments

  1. June 27, 2019 / 7:11 pm

    So jealous of your Italy adventures! Such an amazing time in one of my favorite places 🙂

  2. June 30, 2019 / 12:57 am

    Just came back from Rome, we loved this eternal city! Our favourite places where “The big fountain” (Fontana dell’ Acqua Paola, the Pantheon, Roman Forum and we loved the Colosseum as well .

    • Laura
      Author
      June 30, 2019 / 11:15 am

      Isn’t it such a wonderful place! So many incredibly ancient things to see every time you turn the corner. I’d love to plan another trip there

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