After spending a day last week like a Roman, it only made sense to balance it out with a day like a tourist. Last Saturday I finally made it to the Colosseum. Although I had seen it from the outside several times on this trip, I had yet to make it inside. It is certainly spectacular from the outside, but it is absolutely breathtaking inside.
Of course my friend Andrew is almost always late and this has not changed in Italy. Once I had made it to the Colosseum and learned he was still half an hour away, I began looking for lunch. Despite this being a day spent like a tourist, I was not ready to sacrifice the delicious cafés I have grown accustomed to for the crowded tourist areas around the Colosseum. With a quick Google search I found a sandwich shop a short walk from the Colosseum. Once again, I was amazed at how fresh and crisp the sandwich was.
I then returned to the Colosseum and finally met up with Andrew and his family friend, Luigi, to go inside. Because of the surprisingly low price of admission we decided to splurge and also buy the audio tour. We climbed the steps up to the second level and I was immediately blown away. It is difficult to describe in words what is like to be in a structure that massive and ancient. I strongly recommend the audio guide as it provides information I never would have learned otherwise. For example, many of the missing areas were taken throughout history as building materials for Rome.
The most amazing aspect of this arena is how advanced it was for being so ancient. People received tickets for an assigned, numbered seat, just like sporting events today. Senators have their names carved into their seats. Even better than sporting events today, the entire arena was designed to be filled or emptied in only fifteen minutes. The most obvious aspect of how it advanced it was is the labyrinth of tunnels beneath the arena, used to house the animals and keep the games running smoothly.
The Colosseum was certainly the highlight of the week, but there were also other fun moments. Monday evening my roommates and I had a great experience with Italy’s famous many course dinner. For just 20 Euros a person, we got drinks and more plates of food then we could count. There was calamari, bruschetta, Chicken Parmesan, fried vegetables, tiramisu, and some plates we could not even recognize. All of it was delicious and I hope to go to more before the trip ends. It is hard to believe next week is the last week of classes. Of course, in some respects I am almost ready to go home, but I still have plenty to do here in Rome.