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My Trip to Italy ~ Traveling in Rome

You may remember my posts from awhile back when I went to Europe and traveled to many places such as Dublin, Paris, Rome, Athens, Rhodes, Santorini, and back again to Dublin. Well, I traveled back to Europe this summer! I went on an archaeological dig in Northern Greece for six weeks and then bounced over to Italy for another two weeks with my boyfriend. Sadly, I did not post last year about my archaeological dig in Israel {I may write about it in the future when I have more time}, but this time, I had to write about my time in Greece and Israel. My posts on my time in Greece are coming, but I decided I to write about Italy first, because it was my time for vacation rather than work.

My boyfriend and I began our Italy trip by traveling in Rome, where we returned to many sites we both had previously visited and we found many new ancient and modern spots as well.

Like any tourist traveling in Rome, we began our sight-seeing at the Colosseum.

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Stairs leading to the top decks of the Flavian amphitheater.

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Mosaic at the Colosseum exhibit showing a bestiarius, a gladiator who fights animals.

After the Colosseum, we stopped for a moment at the Arch of Constantine and then headed south to the entrance to Palatine Hill.

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The Arch of Constantine

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The ruins of the Hippodrome of Domitian

We quickly made our to the various domus on top of Palatine Hill. We passed the Hippodrome of Domitian, which was used for chariot racing. Interestingly, it overlooks the Circus Maximus, which was also used for chariot racing.

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We then walked over to the Domus Augustana, the house of Augustus where we saw the remains of a once great peristyle.

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Since bothy my boyfriend and I had visited Rome before, we only browsed the Palatine Hill a bit  and headed over to the Roman Forum. I did get to the see an amazing depiction of a Roman eagle.

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Roman Forum

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The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

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The Temple of Castor and Pollux

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I saw some great art remaining on the ruins of marbles such as the laurel wreath of victory.

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One of my favorite sites in the Forum – the “naval” or center of the city of Rome. It is from this point that the distances of Rome are measured; as the sign says, it is also where the earthly world comes into contact with the Underworld. Its mythological founding goes back to Romulus and it still survives to modernity, although it had been renovated during the empire.

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Forum Iulium, the Forum of Caesar

Our visit to the Roman Forum was also brief, because we have both visited it before. I am a Classics major, so this was difficult to do. . We exited past the Arch of Septimius Severus and then the Forum of Caesar.

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We quickly went by Trajan’s market…..

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And the Column of Trajan….

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and the Altare della Patria, the altar of the fatherland..

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We then walked around down many, many streets and stumbled upon tons of sites, such as a waterless Trevi Fountain before finally hitting the Pantheon.

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The famed engineering feat, the oculus.

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We visited the Pantheon on a Sunday when church services are held multiple times per day.

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We then meandered over to the Piazza Navona to check out the obelisk, fountain and more.

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Max also found this new favorite street performance. The restaurant we planned on dining at was closed, so we had to choose one nearby. It was no tourist trap, though. We had our first taste of rabbit there and our first pasta dish on the trip. We then got some gelato to complete the meal and headed home for the day.

The next day, we went across the Tiber River to the Villa Farnesina, which date to the 15th century. It is full of art by famous and talented artists, but sadly the statues do not remain. Fortunately, we later traveled to Naples where we saw some of the Farnese collection.

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The Villa Farnesina and its back garden

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The art in this room depicts the wedding between Alexander the Great and Roxanne.

We were struggling to find museums and sites that we had not yet visited on a Monday, since that is the day most attractions are closed in Europe. We had looked at many villas to visit that day, but this one was coincidentally located across from the National Museum of Ancient Art in the Palazzo Corsini. The extent of their collection is mind-blowing. It was also shocking how empty it was. We saw maybe three other tourist groups during our entire time there.

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Afterward, we made our way to get lunch at Sette Oche.

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We saw many little Madonna on building corners along the way.me-in-rome-italy

A photo my boyfriend took of me at lunch.

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We had some amazing pork and pasta dishes and finished it off with tiramisu.

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We then crossed the Tiber River again and checked out the remains of the older part of ancient Rome. The Forum Boarium was the first marketplace in Rome and the Temple of Hercules Victor and the Temple of Portunus still stand there.

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The Temple of Hercules Victor

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The Temple of Portunus

Nearby is one of the first permanent amphitheaters in Rome, the Theater of Marcellus. Its construction was begun by Caesar and finished by Augustus and named after Augustus’ intended heir.

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The Theater of Marcellus now has apartments built into it.

We then walked to the Basilica of San Nicola in Carcare. This church has ancient ruins built into its side and below its floors.

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Remains of pagan temples and early churches dating back as far as the 8th century BC can be found below the church.

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We then hopped on a bus and went to the Column of Marcus Aurelius. Like the Column of Trajan, it is a long battle scene winding up from the base.

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We stopped to get some gelato and nosed around. We saw the Mausoleum of Augustus in the distance, but were too tire to visit it.

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We also briefly stopped by the Spanish Steps before heading home on the Metro. After only two days of extensive walking, we were tired and needed to get some rest to be prepared to visit new cities, which we would do beginning the following day.

 

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