Rome (In A Day)

It was my first full day in Rome, so I thought the best way to get to see the city would be to do a walking tour. I signed up for a 3.5 hour walking tour from my hostel called The Yellow for just €20.

Palatine Hill

Our guide Kevin was brilliant. We started the tour at the birth place of Rome, Palatine Hill. It is said that twin brothers Romulus and Remus (founders of Rome) were born of rape and so to save herself from punishment, the mother Rhea Silvia, claimed the father was the god Mars. The twins were ordered to be murdered, but the servant who was supposed to commit the murder, spared the children's lives and placed them in a basket which carried the babies downstream to Rome where they were kept alive by sucking on a She-Wolf's bosom. After many years the twins became leaders and chose to found a new city called Rome. Unfortunately neither brother could decide on the best place to found the city and so they had a fight in which Remus was killed. Romulus then got his way and founded Rome from Palatine Hill.

View of Rome and the Vatican

Our next stop was to see the most spectacular view in Rome. Kevin took us through a park and as we turned left, passing the tree line, we were greeted by the insatiable view you can see in the picture above. The dome in the background is St Peters Basilica, Vatican.

Left: The hillside roads of Ancient Rome. Right: Bocca delta Verità

After walking down the windy old roads, we came across Bocca delta Verità (Mouth of Truth). This is a carving done using marble stone, from what is likely to be an old manhole cover. The carving reflects a man-like face in the marble. It was used in the Middle Ages by unscrupulous priests who conned the layman into believing that it was a lie detector. To prove you were telling the truth, you would place your arm through the mouth and make a statement; if the statement was deemed to be a lie, it was said that the Mouth would bite your arm off!! Unfortunately to keep the layman under the thumb of the church, there would actually be someone behind the Mouth, who would at random hack people arms off! 😵

Left: Tempio di Ercole Vincitore. Right: Tempio di Portuno

Across the road from the Mouth of Truth, were the temples of Hercules and Portunus. Dating from the late 2nd Century B.C. the temple of Hercules was converted into a church in the 12th Century A.D. The temple of Portunus was built between 120 - 80 B.C. in dedication to the god Portunus, who was the god of keys, doors and livestock.

Top Left: An Amphitheater. Top Right: The remains of an ancient temple. Bottom Left: The street, 16 Ottobre 1943, a street in the Jewish Ghetto. Bottom Middle: Tempio Maggiore; A Synagogue. Bottom Right: The details of Jews sent to concentration camps.

After making a quick stop to see an amphitheater and the remains of an ancient temple nearby, we proceeded onto the Jewish ghetto. We were told how in 1555 Pope Paul IV ordered the creation of the ghetto to oppress the Jewish community during the Roman Inquisition. In 1870 shortly after the Papal States collapsed and Italy became a unified country, the ghetto was demolished and Tempio Maggiore (The Great Synagogue of Rome) was build in place of the old synagogue.

A plaque commemorating the life of a Graziella Sabatello

During the war, many millions of Jews had been displaced from their homes and sent to concentration camps. If you look closely on the roads you can see gold plaques which were used as commemorations to highlight some of the known victims. The plaques give the names, year of birth, date of arrest, place they were deported to and the date they were killed.

Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary 

Kevin then led us on to Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, which is the exact place that Julius Caesar was murdered by a group of around 60 Roman senators who literally stabbed him in the back, chest, neck and anywhere else they could; 23 times!!! 😱

Pictures from outside and inside the Pantheon

The pièce de résistance of the day, came when we arrived at the Pantheon. This incredible structure was build by the Emperor Hadrian in 126 A.D. It was initially build as a place to worship all the different gods in one place; as until this point each god commanded his own worship, which took up a large amount of time. Since the 7th century the Pantheon became a Christian church, and is now dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs.

Il Vittoriano

Nearing the end of the tour, we took a stroll to Piazza Venezia, where we got to see the rather dull looking building called Palazzo Venezia, which is the building that Mussolini chose to address people from the Palace's balcony. And in the same square we got to see Il Vittoriano, which is the spectacular building you can see in the picture. This building was a monument dedicated to the first King of Italy, King Victor Emmanuel II. It was designed in 1885 and building was completed in 1925.

The Colosseum 

The day drew to a conclusion 5.5 hours after we started, resulting in us getting to see the majesty of the Colosseum. Kevin rounded off the day by painting a vivid picture of the epic battles that went on inside the Colosseum. Stories such a giraffes battering each other with their long necks, or bloody thirsty lions pitted against a fearsome gladiator serve to trigger our imaginations, making the whole experience just that little bit more real. All in all, it was a great end to a great day - A day I won't forget in a hurry 😃.

Created By
Phillip Taffley
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Phillip Taffley

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