Ancient Rome and Not So Ancient Politics

Colosseum DAY 2: Saturday, March 23

Gelato: Cannella (cinnamon) and creme caramel (the cinnamon knocked my socks off. You’ll see I had trouble staying away.)

Pasta: none! Instead, I had the largest, most expensive hamburger of my life.

During the day, we explored the Roman Forum, which our younger son, who is in 7th grade, loved. Our older son, a sophomore in high school, was dying to experience the Colosseum, which we could see from the Roman Forum teasing him all the while. Hungry from all that walking among ruins, we went in search of a restaurant recommended by Rick Steves. Of course we got lost. Well, we weren't lost so much as we were on the complete opposite side of the Colosseum from where we were supposed to be. It's a big monument and it would take a while to walk all the way around (again) so we agreed to the beckoning guy at the most tourist-y restaurant I could imagine. The only way this restaurant could have been more touristy is if the waiters were dressed as gladiators. No matter, the food was good and the prices were not outrageious. Finally, we tackled the Colosseum where we elected to hire a tour guide on Zach’s request. She was an adorable Italian architecture student and seemed eager to share her knowledge. Part of her mission, it seemed, was to dispel a myth (she said) that Christians were martyred in the Colosseum. Outside the Colosseum, sure, she said. But not inside.

Roman Forum

Laura and Zach at Roman Forum with Arch of Titus in background.

Arch of Constantine Laura and Tom in front of Colosseum Zach and Mitch in front of Colosseum

The area beneath the stage where the gladiators and animals were kept.

In the evening we walked to the Spanish Steps, where a major Berlusconi rally was in full stride on the steps and being broadcasted to the packed crowed via huge video monitors. This may have been interesting to us if any of us could speak a word of Italian, but as we do not, the moment was lost on us. What little I understand is that there remains a stalemate. I guess the rally wasn't so effective after all. Anyway, from the Spanish Steps, we made our way to the Trevi Fountain. Of course we got lost and, tired and hungry, I nearly gave up, but Tom urged us on. The fountain, lit for the evening in the soft orange lights of Rome and crushed by young tourists, was quite dramatic. The boys and I threw our coins in the fountain to ensure our return. Then, we made our way to Nino, an upscale restaurant near the Spanish Steps, just in time for our 9 pm reservation. I ordered a meal which I had mistaken for a filet. When it arrived, it turned out to be a giant hamburger. It was good, but not what I’d had in mind. Scared away by the prices, we departed without dolce (dessert) and instead, found a gelateria on our block, which was still open at 10:30 pm. Yay!


Laura, Zach and Mitch on major shopping street with Spanish Steps in background.

Berlusconi rally on Spanish Steps.