I woke up a bit early today, so going to try and catch up with the blog post about yesterday that I missed.
We got up a bit later which was nice for the extra sleep. After breakfast (I’m really missing an American type breakfast at this point!), we boarded the bus and headed to the University.
Rome has three public universities and we were at the 3rd one. They are so named based on when they were started. We spent the morning with a professor and talked about the American and Italian education systems. We noted that we experienced many of the same problems. The pressures of standardized testing, student engagement, parental involvement, etc. Students talked about the difficulties in landing jobs and the very low salaries that teachers make in Italy. In their high schools instead of the students moving classes, the teachers move from room to room. They only teach for about 18-20 hours a week….usually just in the morning. School is out in the afternoon. They go about 20 more days that we do in the U.S. so about 200 days a year. It was a wonderful discussion and we appreciated all their time and the tour of the university.
From there we boarded the bus and headed to lunch. We stopped near the Colosseum for lunch. It was a breathtaking view from our restaurant….although we had to “rush” so we could get to our guided tour on time. I had another cheeseburger which tasted pretty good….the french fries were the best!
We took this group shot out side the Colosseum before our tour. Then we headed in the Colosseum. Build in 79 BC, it is one of the oldest surviving structures. It was amazing to hear the story and the amount of thought that went into building and designing it. We heard stories of the gladiators and the slaves and all the people and animals that worked and fought in the Colosseum. It obviously was not a happy place for those doing all that work, but provided entertainment for the masses. The morning was scheduled with animal fights, the mid-day was scheduled with executions, and the the afternoon (when more people could come) was the gladiators. It was very bloody and very violent.
I can’t tell you how many pictures I took, but it was a lot. Here are just a few.
From there we got a guided tour of the Forum which was the main part of the town. We saw where they cremated the remains of Julius Ceasar and got a glimpse into the early houses and what life was like in the early Roman era. They are obviously still digging and looking for more information, but it was amazing to think how long some of these fragments of marble and columns had lasted.
After that we headed to the spanish step area for a break. I didn’t get any pictures because at that point I was wiped out. We got a Coca-Cola and some water and that helped. I ate a little dinner (turkey, salad, and terra massou (got to remember to check the spelling on that one)), but I was not feeling well for a bit. I seem to kind of snap out of it after dinner, although my stomach is still not completely normal….I don’t think. Anyway, following dinner we headed out on a little walk to see some of Rome lighted up at night. It was much cooler, so that helped. (Although the weather has been beautiful our entire trip – upper 70s to right around 80). We walked to the Roman Pantheon which is the oldest structure in Roman. Amazing!
Then we went to the fountain (whose name escapes me at the moment) where we threw a coin over our left shoulder with our right hand as a guarantee we return to Rome someday.
After that we got back on the bus and we drove around looking at more of Rome lighted up. It is just amazing that around every corner and every turn there was so much to see and these ancient piece and parts just showed up in the most interesting places. Our last stop was a chance to get off the bus and take a few pictures of St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. We are visiting it tomorrow for the tour of the Sistine Chapel and the museum. But, the nighttime views were amazing. We think the light on the window signifies the Pope is home.
We got back to the hotel and just crashed. We had an early wake-up call to be ready to head to the Vatican and be there on time. So, guess I better finish getting ready and head down to breakfast. Ciao!