Rome – Thursday

Morning – Guided tour of the Flavian Amphitheater (aka the Colosseum), the Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill.

Only about 1/3rd of the Colosseum still stands; it was originally covered in marble (which was removed for use in newer buildings or baked to make lime for concrete):

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Here’s what’s left of the original public toilets in the Colosseum:

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“Backstage” area (really under-stage area), where animals and combatants were staged before being lifted up to the stage on one of 80 different rope & pulley elevators:

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After touring the Colosseum, we walked through the Roman Forum, including a section of one of the original Roman roads:

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Our guide described Rome as a lasagna, with layers built upon layers. This was originally the Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina (built in the 2nd century AD).  In 1550, the building was re-purposed as a church, and the green door (behind the column) was installed at what, by then, was street level.

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After the tour ended, we hiked to the Pantheon, built around 120 AD by Emperor Hadrian, to honor all gods:IMG_20170427_131525147_HDR

The dome was the largest made until the Renaissance, and is made of concrete with a coffered ceiling to reduce the weight:

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Light comes in through the open oculus at the top of the dome, and illuminates the beautiful marble and sculptures:

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This is the sculpture that Rafael commissioned for his tomb before he died at age 37; his tomb is just below the Madonna and Child:

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As we were debating where to eat after leaving the Pantheon, the skies opened up with a heavy shower, so we ended up eating a sidewalk cafe right in front of the Pantheon.  This was our view for lunch:

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