One of my favorite things about Rome is that the city’s long, rich history greets you around every corner with all of its spectacular ruins and impressive old buildings, hence the nickname the Eternal City.
On our first visit to Rome we didn’t realize how extensive the the Roman Forum was and only got to see about half before we had to catch our afternoon train to Florence. This time around we scheduled plenty of time to take in the full extent of the ancient ruins and were just as awestruck as before marveling at the impressive remains of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Some fun facts for you: The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built and its said that during the inaugural games in 80 AD over 9,000 wild animals were killed during gladiator combats and wild animal fights. Thats an average of almost 173 a week. Yikes!
Originally built on the site of an Etruscan burial ground, the Roman Forum was first developed in the 7th century BC and grew over the years to become the social, political and commercial hub of the Roman empire. The Forum unfortunately fell into disrepair after the fall of the Roman empire, with its marble and stone extensively plundered during the Middle Ages. The area was systematically excavated in the 18th and 19th centuries and you can see that excavations are still ongoing even to this day. No wonder, Rome is such a delight for history lovers!
If you’re not squeamish about the macabre, consider checking out the Catacombs of Rome, underground burial places dotted all over the outskirts of the city. There are at least forty of them with a few discovered only in recent decades. We checked out the Catacombe di Domitilla, one of the city’s most extensive with 15km of catacombs, a sunken church, and a 2nd century fresco of the Last Supper located in Rome’s southern suburbs near the city’s ancient Appian Way. Catacombs can only be explored via guided visit (wouldn’t want to get lost there!) and unfortunately no personal photography is permitted so you will just have to go see it for yourself!
To purchase advance tickets online for the Colosseum/Roman Forum and save yourself the long queues the day of your visit, check out the official link here.