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The Girl With Pink Hair

Not all that glitters is gold, not all who wander are lost

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October 2013

THE Colosseum

Right at the top of my to go places in Italy. It was every bit as impressive as what I’ve imagine and I could totally replay the scenes in books there and then.

The exterior of the colosseum. On a side note, Rome is absolutely gorgeous and unlike other cities that I’ve been though. Gorgeous buildings and ruins just about everywhere, it is truly a city teeming with history.

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There arena has 2 entrances, the Northwest gate, Porta Triumphalis where the gladiators entered alive and the Southeast gate, Porta Libitinaria where the dead are being carried/dragged out. The video tour never did mention about where the triumphant gladiators would exit. I assume Porta Triumphalis. Although, it was just a matter of time before it was their turn to leave by Porta Libitinaria.

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The arena was also covered with sand to absorb the blood of the injured as the bloodshed often made the arena too slippery for gladiators to put up an entertaining fight. I’m guessing they weren’t into comedies then.

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Though not obvious from the pictures (at least to me), the colosseum is 5 stories high where seats were distributed according to social rank. No surprises here. The senators were of course on the first floor closest to the action where they sat on marble seats with their names engraved. When they died or were no longer senators, their names would be crossed out and engraved with the name of the next person who got their seat.

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Gladiators and animals were hidden from sight under the arena until it was their turn to entertain the crowd. I somehow imagine gladiators living there in tiny rooms while reading but I guess I was wrong. They lived at gladiator schools.

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Interestingly, the marble that was used to build the colosseum was later removed at the order of later popes to build St. Peter’s Basilica. I did wonder which parts when I was at the church. Given how magnificent the colosseum looked in ruins, I can only imagine how spectacular it must have been build during its glorious days. I do wonder why no one thought of building a structure of that magnitude today. Probably cause it is more profitable building skyscrapers.

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Ending with an edited shot of the colosseum. What I cannot imagine is why people then would see bloodshed as a form of entertainment.

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The perfect ending to our trip to Rome, the Pincio gardens

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I absolutely loved how our week in Rome ended spontaneously with a visit to the well hidden Da Vinci Museum and watching the sunset against the beautiful city of Rome from the Pincio gardens. We couldn’t possibly have planned for a better ending, especially when we don’t plan. Well actually the Pincian hills leading to Villa Borghese. I’m a little confused.

Rome was actually one of the cities where I had failed to plan completely. All I knew when I arrived was that I wanted to visit the Vatican city and the colosseum. That was the extend of my plan. We arrived confused by the crowds in the termini and ended up buying our first map ever that highlighted the places of interest in Rome. Ha. Anyway, on our last evening, we realized that we’ve pretty much covered everything interesting but not the gardens, which took up a huge portion of the map, and decided to head there.

It was also when we discovered the awesome Da Vinci Museum right by the stairs leading up to the Pincio gardens! Unlike most museums where you look at stuff behind some barricades or through a transparent casing, this Da Vinci Muesum recreated some of the mechanisms that were found in his notebook and actually allowed visitors to play with. There were also 2 or 3 videos shown within that I found extremely informative.

So the gardens. Fantastic view of the city. There are 2 ways (or more) of getting up to the gardens, by the Spanish steps or by the stairs by Piazza del Popolo. The museum is right beside the steps on the left of the latter.

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A couple of the many heads (bust, po-teh-to po-tah-to) displayed in the gardens. In some places you get headless sculptures and in others, you get the heads. I don’t get it.

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Walking towards the light.

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The temple of Aesculapius.

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It was a sunny summer day and the kids were all out there frolicking and making out on the grass. We did encounter plenty of couples making out just about every where in Rome. The city of love I suppose?

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And that marked the end of our 4 week vacation, wedding and/or honeymoon. I’m definitely looking forward to explore the rest of Italy as soon as I can! I just need more time and money, easy peasy. NOT.

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