Our first task in Rome was to find some food (it was the afternoon and we hadn’t been able to get anything for breakfast on the train). We changed, and then headed into the neighborhood our hostel was in towards a pizzaria the receptionist had suggested. It was a lot of fun wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets. We weren’t exactly sure what we were looking for, as she had circled an intersection on the map but hadn’t given us a name or anything, but as every street corner had at least one (if not two or three) pizzarias, it wasn’t a problem. The place we stopped at was only 3 euro for a slice, and really good.
We had decided to spend the afternoon covering Ancient Rome (the Colosseum and Roman forum), so that’s where we headed next via bus. The Colusseum was cool, lots of information and fun to look at after hearing it referenced and seeing it in the movies so much. It’s a little hard to imagine what it once looked like (most of the geographical and architectural displays were a little dense and hard to understand), but the displays they had on the gladiators and everyday life were super interesting. There were even hairpins, writing utensils, bone from food, etc. that they found in the drains.
The Roman Forum (which no, is not an actual building, but rather an area) was also interesting, but very hard to follow. We mostly just wandered through, which seemed to be what most people were doing. I would have appreciated plaques or a tour route/map so that it would’ve been easier to understand what all the individual ruins were and/or their significance. I suppose that a tour would’ve probably provided some of the explanation I felt was missing, but I would’ve preferred it to have just been a big more organized. However, by that time in the afternoon it had cooled down quite a bit, and wandering among the ruins and resting at the water fountains (Rome has lots of little aquifer type fountains that have spigots to drink from) was quite pleasant.
It was also interesting, because in the Colosseum and Roman Forum both (and this is a trend I noticed in Paris), there seems to be little to no security. If you feel so inclined to feel one of the walls of the Colosseum or climb up onto a ruin in the forum, go right ahead! I believe it’s just a slight cultural difference, but I can’t help but imagine that if these thousand (or sometimes only hundred) year old cultural sites were in the US, there would be far more armed and attentive guards and bullet proof glass.
We decided we wanted to be home for dinner/before it got dark, and tried to catch the bus back. Although it was the same bus we had taken to the Colosseum, it was apparently the wrong bus to take from the Colosseum. It took us to a different part of town than we were intending to end up in, but with the help of : a nun, a girl a few years older than us (who spoke no English but went out of her way to get us on the right bus and speak to the bus driver for us), a bus driver (who referred to us as the “ English speaking girls” in Italian to let us know it was our stop), and an old man, we made it back to the hostel without any incident. The buses in Rome are certainly an experience.