The View National Express Autumn 2017 - 74

ROME

How do you 'do' the most
famous city in the world in
just a couple of days? By
being selective. Rome was
the grand flourish to end my
holiday, and I restricted
myself to visiting sites I
could find nowhere else
- ancient ruins, rather than
museums or churches.
My love for Roman
society and mythology
meant I had to start at the
Coliseum. Completed in
AD80, the ancient world's
largest amphitheatre is
crumbling and yet
awe-inspiring.
Visitors can go inside
just a small part of the
structure, but I could see
the tiers of seats and the
subterranean rooms where
gladiators and prisoners
would have waited their
turn. Even with hordes
of tourists around me, it
was easy to imagine brutal
combat and a baying crowd.
Rome's ancient sites are
conveniently close to each
other - the Forum and

74

TREVI
FOUNTAIN

Palatine Hill are up the
street and a ticket for all
three costs €11.

The classics

Ticking off sights so familiar
from books and television
was a little surreal: the
Arches of Constantine
and Titus, the Temple of
Saturn's massive columns,
the House of the Vestals...
it seemed to go on and on.
Opposite Palatine Hill
is Capitoline Hill - which
continued to be used after
the empire fell and has
palazzos that are now the

GOOD
GAME
To fund the
building of
the incredible
Trevi Fountain,
Pope Clement
reintroduced
the lotto game
in Rome.
The numbers
drawn were
56, 11, 54,
18 and 6, in
case you were
wondering.

Capitoline Museums. Inside
are more marble statues
than anyone could ever
need to see, so I skipped
on to the Pantheon in the
city centre, one of the
best-preserved temples
thanks to its conversion
into a Catholic church.
Light streams through a
circular hole at the top of
its domed roof, which is
marvellous to see.
From there it was a short
walk to see the Ara Pacis,
a monument I had studied
in detail during my Classics
degree, as it tells the story
of Rome's foundation.
This creamy marble altar
is covered in intricate
carvings of historic and
mythological figures and
is protected from the
elements by a purposebuilt museum.
Most of my food in Rome
was eaten on the go - lots of
gelato and pizza - because
there was so much to see.
I ate one ice cream close
to the Trevi Fountain and
another as I walked up the
Baroque Spanish Steps.
My second day was
dedicated to the sprawling
Vatican Museums, where
I gazed at Michelangelo's
Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Vatican City is its own
state and I was charmed
by the fact people can
send postcards from a
tiny postbox, although
I didn't catch sight of
Pope Francis... maybe
next time.

IMAGES: Getty Images, Shutterstock

THE COLISEUM IS THE LARGEST
AMPHITHEATRE EVER BUILT



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