yah, b/c we couldn't go underneath, I was disappointed in the colosseum visit

I was hoping to see old huts predating the Empire and the Roman Republic, to when Rome was founded, but we couldn't find it

or bricks

It was a beautiful ruin, mostly just a nice green park. This is where they held the chariot races in Ancient Rome

I had a great 5 years and anniversary

Definitely, I am very lucky!

Italy II: Sorrento and Rome

Ancient Rome

I had been dreaming of these next couple days for years. Ever since Lin-Wei took me to the Pont du Gard aqueduct bridge in France on our honeymoon I have been a roman history fanatic. And now we were about to embark on a journey to the heart of that very history. Our first stop this morning, the Colosseum! Lin-Wei stressing about long morning lines here were unfounded as we breezed right in and bought our Archeological Passes (after a delay while the new guy behind the counter got trained on how to sell them), and our tour began.

Awe-struck tourists
I have to say, it was a bit on the anticlimatic side. I mean, you hear that it was the biggest this, and gargantuan that, and yeah, it is pretty fricking big, but I was expecting that. So I expected to be blown away by it, but it was instead the very large spectacle that I had indeed expected. We climbed the stairs, saw the emperor's box, and even condemned a few slaves to death. All in a days work for the Bonneys. We weren't, however, allowed down to the main arena floor, nor could we see all the passageways underneath from closeup, but it was still a satisfying tour nonetheless.

Arch of Septimius Severus in the Forum
Our next stop, after walking by the Arch of Constantine, was the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill! We had to make it past a few fake Roman Gladiators who are more than willing to take a picture with you...for a price. A mere wave and look of scorn was all it took to break through the lines of these Roman legions. I was looking forward to this a bit more than the Colosseum given the amount of history here, and I was not disappointed. We first toured the Forum and saw the Curia which Caesar himself built for the Roman Senate, and it was easy to see why someone would have a big head after accomplishing that feat. Saw the Temple of the Vestal Virgins (no joke necessary here) and the arches of Titus and Septimius Severus.
Temple of the Vestal Stickler
How awesome is it to see these things standing after two thousand years? And in reading up on it on the internets, you can see drawings where the forum is half buried in garbage, with the Arch of Septimius Severus being used as a barber shop! So, it's amazing that all this stone was not carted off by the ensuing generations (but a lot of it was, unfortunately...)

What was also amazing was that someone decided that it would be cool to place some really ugly and out of place modern art in and near the ancient sites. Some Italian legislator's -- or artist's -- idea of tying the peoples of ancient Rome with the modern ones? Maybe, but the art was still stupid.

Al returns to Palatine after 9 years! Though this Palatine was a lot more interesting
Our final stop on this magical history tour was the Palatine Hill, where Roman emperors from Augustus onward made their homes. I, myself lived in Palatine for a couple of years, but it'd have to say it was not as scenic or grand as this Palatine. But they did make a pretty good Burrito Suizo there.

In my thoughts prior to this trip I imagined stepping through a time portal while on the Palatine hill and winding up in Imperial Times. But, while the initial few minutes would be one of wonder and awe, what happens next? An obvious outsider and barbarian appearing in the inner sanctum of Rome? How to convince them to not kill you, knowing no Latin, and that you are a cool guys and could teach them about some cool stuff like how the Earth is round, the danger of the Vandals and Goths, and introduce them to the wonderful sport of bowling? Yeah, it would be pretty hard. So I learned how to describe bowling in Latin just in case.

The Roman Forum from the Palatine Hill. The Curia (house of the Senate) is the brown building on the left
It was hot again that day, and frequent stops were made for water and yogurt snacks, but I was pretty happy to finally be in the heart of ancient Rome. I even got to see the branch of the Aqua Claudius aqueduct that Nero brought to the Palatine hill!

Oh Hey! This day was also the 5th anniversary of my marriage to the lovely Lin-Wei! The whole way we spun this trip to my parents was to celebrate our 5th-year anniversary, so in addition to the traditional tour of piles of rocks that most people do, we also wanted to do something wacky: have a nice dinner alone. On the advice of the aforementioned neighbor Anne we sets our sites on the Trastavere ("Beyond the Tiber") section of Rome. The closest subway stop was at
Lovely bride at the fountain in Trastevere
Circus Maximus, so we did get to tour one last old thing before heading over the river to the Bohemian section of town, where we had a nice rest at the central square, watching a young girl chase bubbles around the fountain there, and smiling at each other thinking of our little girls back in the US.

We had a very nice dinner that evening (outdoors of course), and it was so relaxing to not have anywhere to be, sip the wine, and think about the last five years of our lives. Yes, life was good.

Aqueducts! Aqueducts! Aqueducts!

Copyright (c) The Sticklers 2009