In Roma…

Il Colosseo!

We survived our flight, noisy students and mediocre in-flight service aside.  When the airline asks you for feedback on your travel experience, do you think they REALLY mean that?  Anyway…

Wednesday is mostly a blur.  We checked into our room at Trinity B&B: Huge room, very clean, a working fridge, free air-conditioning and they let you keep your key!  We found pizza for dinner, gelato for desert and wandered around the Colosseum enjoying the waxing moon.  It’s nice to be back.

Lyn took her first visit to the House of Augustus AND we both went inside the Curia building for the first time.  They’ve opened the floor to the public and, through the summer, there is an exhibit in place on the Amelii family.  The excavations in the Forum Iulia are still going on, but they’ve made them accessible to the public–there is a black, rubber walkway you can follow to tour the dig.

Temple of Saturn

It smells like a fresh can of tennis balls in the sun, but the excavation is interesting. At the end of the day, we headed for the Piazza del Popolo, watched Italy flail their way out of “Il Mondiale” and met our friends Sera and Derek for dinner.  Not a bad way to spend the day.  Restaurant 59 is very good, by the way (thanks to Sera for that one!).  Lyn’s first trip to Giolitti for coconut gelato–she was impressed. I tried “creme de whiskey.” It’s good to try new things…

Today we decided to be real tourists and bought 24 hour tickets on the open-top, ArchaeoBus!  It was actually a good way to get out to the aqueducts and Via Appia.  With the “General Strike” going on today with protests and speeches, we weren’t sure how efficient the Metro would be.

A chunk of the 'Aqua Claudia'

The open-top bus was fun.  The breeze was nice, and you can see over the wall along the Via Appia.  There’s a lot of stuff back there!  Found some new excavations at the Villa Capo di Bove–well, new to me–and met a very nice resident cat.  From there, we made our way back into the city, wandered along the Triumphal Way and spent some time watching the archaeologists working in front of Sant’Omobono: Archaic temples, iron-age features and some Republican era remains.

Sant'Omobono excavations

The project is taking up most of a city block.  A turn around the Via di San Teodoro to see the remains of the Horea Agrippa and up to the overlook of the Forum.  Lots of miles today!

We found great pasta, wine/Coke Lite across the street from our B&B – RomAntica, Via Emanuele Filiberto, #52.  When we got there, their electricity was out and all they could offer were drinks and an “estimated” wait until things were up and running again.  It was worth the wait.  After about 45 minutes, they had minimal electrical function in the kitchen, candles to light the way and could prepare any type of pasta dish we wanted, as long as it didn’t involve “pesce o carne.”  That was fine, neither of us wanted fish or meat…  I recommend finishing up with their tiramisu–very good.

Tomorrow we’re heading out to Ostia Antica–ancient port city at the mouth of the Tiber.  We spent a few hours there a couple of years ago and would like to really explore things in detail.  It’s an interesting trip, especially when you compare Ostia to Pompeii.  Ostia wasn’t buried in a day, it sort of faded out of use at the “fall” of Rome and was abandoned after repeated sackings by Arabs in the 9th century.  Today the stabilized excavations are open to the public and you can get an idea of what Roman Pompeii might have developed into if it had been allowed to continue on, uninterrupted.  One big difference between Ostia and Pompeii: the hordes of tourist groups aren’t nearly as thick, the food offered in the Ostia snack bar is better and the antiquarium is located on site and is actually OPEN to the public.

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