28 Jul 2005 - Rome, Italy

Here I am again! Following in the footsteps of a previous visit that also took in Rome , Pompeii , Herculaneum and Sorrento . Again I explored the ancient heart and while revisiting some of the larger, popular structures also focused on some of the smaller things that I didn't pay so much attention the first time. To really see Rome I think would take weeks.

However, the biggest difference this time was that I spent time on visiting the Palatine . On previous occasions this was either shut or I didn't have enough time so this time I made sure it got a visit.

The historic centre today can be divided in to the Forum which was the centre of public life and now contains extensive ruins. Next to this is the Palatine which back in the day formed the Imperial residence and is set on a hill overlooking the city.

This is a very large area and it when seen it is apparent that the Caesars certainly lived a life of privilege - as befitting the rulers of most of the known world. It is not so spectacular as the ruins of the forum so like any tour of an archeological site, make sure you have a good guide book telling what each structure is and its relevance to every day life.
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Rome - The markets of Trajan I

Rome - The markets of Trajan I

The markets and forum were built by Emperor Trajan between 107 and 113 AD. It was financed by the immense wealth from the conquest of Dacia (modern day Romania).
Rome - The markets of Trajan II

Rome - The markets of Trajan II

The complex comprised six floors of shops and offices - the precursor to the modern shopping centre. Wine, oil, vegetables, flowers, silks and spices were all sold here.
Rome - The markets of Trajan III

Rome - The markets of Trajan III

Wandering around the complex allows you to imagine what the markets would have been like when in use. Shops are small and you can see where the doors used to slide backwards and forwards to close or open the shop. It must have been quite hectic when all the shops were open with their wares on display.
Rome - Emperor Trajan

Rome - Emperor Trajan

The column upon which the statue bears the inscription 'SPQR IMP CAESARE NERVALE TRAINO OPTIMO PRINCIPI'
Rome - Arch of Constantine from the Colosseum

Rome - Arch of Constantine from the Colosseum

After defeating his rival Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (Oct 28, 312 AD), Constantine moved his residence to Trier in Germany. On his return 3 years later the senate had erected this arch in his honour.

The senate took the unprecedented step of reusing parts of earlier monuments from the reigns of other emperors.
Rome - Inside the Colosseum

Rome - Inside the Colosseum

The arena originally had a wooden floor which was covered in sand to prevent the combatants from slipping and to soak up the blood. Trapdoors led down to underground chambers and passageways. Animals in cages and sets for the various battles were hoisted up to the arena by a complicated system of pulleys.
Rome - Inside the Colosseum

Rome - Inside the Colosseum

The inside of the colosseum from a lower vantage point. This gives a better view of the underground complex. With the fall of the Empire the Colosseum was abandoned and gradually became overgrown. Exotic plants grew there for centuries; seeds had been transported with the animals that had been transported from Africa. In the Middle Ages the site was used as a fortress but overtime it was gradually used as a quarry for travertine and marble for other buildings.
Rome - The Circus Maximus

Rome - The Circus Maximus

600m long and 200m wide, this makes it the biggest building for public spectacles of all time.

Construction began in 329 BC, the circus remained in use until 549 AD, long after the end of the Western Roman Empire.
Rome - Palatine, The Stadium

Rome - Palatine, The Stadium

The Palatine hill became the residence of the ruling classes and here was where Augustus was born. The hill became the centre of the Imperial palace complex.

This private stadium in the complex was used for chariot races, 160 m long.
Rome - Palatine, Fountain

Rome - Palatine, Fountain

On the Palatine this water fountain provides relief in the against a hot Roman summer's day.
Rome - The Colosseum

Rome - The Colosseum

Another view of the Colosseum also taken from the Via del Forli Imperiale.
Rome - Trevi fountain at night

Rome - Trevi fountain at night

Packed at night with locals and tourists sitting around the pool with their partners, entranced by the noise and motion of running water - and each other.

Neptunes chariot is led by Tritons with sea horses - one wild and one docile - representing the moods of the sea. Trevi refers to the three roads that converge on the fountain (tre = 3, vie = road)

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