Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Bongiorno. The following entries on Rome, The Vatican, and Florence are the last in the Adventures of Dre on his sojourn in Europe. Never fear, for more adventures are bound to be around the corner.

Rome was one of the highlight places that I was interested in visiting during my journeys. I've been fascinated with the Roman empire for some time including their military might, long lasting dynasty, and extraordinary technology for the time period.

The Coliseum was pretty incredible. It is not in quite the condition it was shown to be in the movie Gladiatorbut was impressive nonetheless. Gladiatorial games were in fact held there. I actually got to go inside and take a look around. There is no longer a floor and one can see the various basement infrastructures where combatants and animals were kept until their time.

Quite a few objects around Rome are labeled with the initials SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus) which mean property of the Senate and people of Rome. For those who have seen the movie Gladiator, Russel Crowe had a tattoo of this on his shoulder and subsequently scraped it off.

Interestingly, the president of Italy resigned from office and then came back all within the time that I was in Rome.

The Circus Maximus was a massive hippodrome which was used most commonly for chariot races. It is an enormous structure but is little more than a massive oval track now.

One fun thing that I did from time to time was simply wander the streets with no particular end goal in mind. This allows a good feel for the city streets and the
musicians, street vendors, and people there. One thing encounter during such an expedition was a wood working shop in the style of Gepetto with Pinnochios and even a life size wooden motorcycle.

I also walked down Via Condotti, the premier shopping street in Rome located just in front of the Spanish Steps. There are fine apparel stores such as Prada, Gucci, Armani, Cartier, Ferragamo, etc.

The food at all times was of high caliber and being a lover of Italian food, I much enjoyed my culinary experiences there. One interesting thing that restaurants/outdoor cafes do is have someone stand by the door or menu and if you slow down to look at the menu they promptly invite you inside and encourage you with very persuasive salesmanship. It is a bit endearing and all a part of the culture.

I partook of an ice-creamlike (but better) substance called Gelato on an almost daily basis. This tasty desert has the consistency of something between ice cream and custard with a smoothie thrown in the mix. If you ever get to go to Italy, you must try some. There are a plethora of Gelaterrias around the streets so ample opportunities avail themselves for consumption.

There were random orange trees in various gardens throughout the city. They looked quite tasty but I resisted the temptation to sample some.

The Pantheon, not to be confused with the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, is an ancient structure built originally for the worship of pagan gods but now utilized as a Christian church. The building is fairly impressive in architecture and contains a nice circular skylight in the roof.

The Roman forum was kind of neat and was basically a set of ruins which much of the nobility lived in during ancient times. When entering it, one felt as though entering a hidden and secret city. The Imperial Forum was another area which competed somewhat with the Roman Forum in majesty.

I'm convinced that hitting pedestrians is a competitive sport in Rome and Italy in general. Italian drivers drive with fairly aggressive tendencies and don't tend to yield to the poor souls who travel on foot. In his book The Broker, John Grisham noted the seeming paradox in the culture, and I concur, of enjoying a leisurely meal of several hours then jumping in the car and driving at break neck speeds. Pedestrians are advised to bring their running shoes and a healthy dose of bravery when crossing streets.

Check out the Bath entry for previous Roman information.


Roman Soldier

Arch by Coliseum

Andrew at Coliseum

Inside the Coliseum

The Pantheon at Night

Inside the Pantheon

The Italian President's House

Roman Road

Trevi Fountain

Gepetto's Motorcycle

Orange Trees

Roman Forum

Roman Forum Fountain

Roman Forum 2


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