After reaching Fiumicino airport, we secured two tickets of ROMA PASS giving us access to Colosseum and adjacent archaeological sites. Since it was the day before Good Friday, it was a good strategy to explore Colosseum leisurely before Pope enters Colosseum the next day. We had our hostel near Roma Termini; hence the pass helped us to take a quick metro ride from Termini to Colosseum metro station. The grandeur of Colosseum was obvious immediately as we stepped out of the station. No need to look at the google maps for this one, as Colosseum is right in front of the station, convenient and easily accessible to a tourist.
We skipped the long lines because of the ROMA PASS and spent the entire afternoon in Colosseum. Needless to say, Colosseum was impressive. I would advise entering late afternoon to avoid crowds for prettier pictures.
Colosseum is an amphitheatre built in 70-80 AD. Colosseum could hold around 65000 spectators. Spectators would enjoy viewing gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, animal hunts, executions, dramas and re-enactments of battles. In 20th and 21st centuries, Colosseum has been used for Roman Catholic ceremonies.
Actually, after entering Colosseum, I wondered how has this construction survived for so many centuries. I learnt that a lot has been destroyed over a long period of time, what is standing right now is the northern side outer wall, inner walls, very little of the arena floor exposing the entire underground structure (hypogeum) with the tunnels connecting outside of Colosseum.
Today Colosseum is visited by thousands of tourists all around the year. We saw mainly American, Asian and South American tourists. Honestly, one has to constantly move and accommodate others. Everyone is busy taking pictures, generally, large groups are moving around. Most of the large groups are led by tour managers with their private mikes and all their group members are listening to their stories in their preferred language through the headphones. One has to constantly play a dodge game by not getting caught in between these large groups. Usually, these group lines and ROMA pass holders get access through the same gate. We were constantly clicking our pictures trying to avoid large groups.
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The vibe around Colosseum is extremely tourist friendly (annoying?). We found Colosseum surrounded by selfie stick/umbrella sellers, on-the-spot tour salesman and people who offer horse rides. Then are the super-friendly African descent street vendors who like to strike a conversation with you and try to sell something in return. At last are the street artists which include musicians and painters.
For photography purposes, I would advise everyone to take wide lens camera to capture this massive structure. Different locations surrounding Colosseum are good photo spots. One which is just above the metro station seems to be highly popular. Though, one has to struggle keeping people out of the frame.
We walked a little farther towards the archaeological sites, to find the moon rise over Colosseum. We framed it with these columns.
After sunset, we left Colosseum and took a metro ride back to Termini. We ate at ‘Mamma Angela’ restaurant near Termini station. The first thing I realised was I overboil pasta at home, restaurants don’t serve them soft. We went there after reading some friendly reviews. I had mixed feelings about my experience. I was expecting more from the pasta we ordered. The wine was fine, but the wait for the food to arrive is unexplainable. I won’t super recommend it.
In fact, before going to Colosseum, we had stopped at a small pizza place called ‘Alice pizza’ near Termini station. For the price and range of vegetarian pizzas, I really liked the place. We ate two slices of pizza each and could easily survive on it half of the afternoon until our food arrived in Mamma Angela. I recall the pizza slices better than the pasta.
Next day, on our way to the remaining archaeological sites, we passed the Colosseum and took photographs from the remaining side. In all, it was a very productive trip. More about Rome trip in my next blog! Keep exploring 🙂