After taking some time to admire the view from my bedroom window...
... I went downstairs for breakfast and directions. (My window from the courtyard)
I knew I'd want to explore the convent further but first it was time to explore the sights of Rome.
Because of some language difficulties, I ended up with 2 three-day passes for the bus. Oh well. At least I got to see many beautiful structures on my bus rides. Anyone need a bus pass for Roma??
Hidden behind Roman walls...
... was the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano.
I also caught a glimpse of Obelisco del Laterano behind the basilica.
After whizzing by many beautiful buildings...
... the bus let me off at this stop...
... across from a very familiar sight.
How many pictures had I seen of the Roman Colosseum in my lifetime? Despite all those pictures, "up close and personal" is so much better!
I could see finer details and also the signs of wear and tear that 2000 years is bound to have, even on such a well-built structure.
Everyone knows that the Colosseum is large but until you see it dwarf crowds of people it's hard to imagine just how large it is.
As I walked around the Colosseum to find the entrance...
... there were plenty of interesting things to see.
I even missed the entrance (the crowd of people should've been a clue) because I was too busy looking at everything else. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has walked past the entrance to look at the Arco di Constantino.
And who wouldn't follow a couple of Roman gladiators wondering where they were going?
The remaining half dome of Antiquarium Forense...
... and its tall strong columns remain impressive even though centuries have left them incomplete.
Beyond, I realized there will be so much more to see...
... and at this point, I did and even really know what I was looking at...
... or where things were from. I decided the best thing to do would be to wander around and let myself discover all the interesting things.
I took the time to enjoy these horse's attractive headwear...
... and to giggle at offered photo opportunities.
The Arco di Constantino is truly impressive.
Like other Roman structures, it's made up of columns, three dimensional statues and stone carvings.
When I turned back towards the Coliseum...
... I missed the entrance entirely but had a chance to admire...
... the craftsmanship...
... and wonder about the "pockmarks" on the stone.
As I continued around the structure, I imagined the throngs of ancient people streaming through these passageways...
... and up and down the stairs. In my imagination, I could hear their footsteps on the stone.
H away aving circled the Coliseum, I was back where I began out with a better view of the modern patchwork which keeps this end of the Coliseum together.
One good thing about being at a major tourist attraction: there is always someone who wants their picture taken and in return, they will take yours.
A better view of the Coliseum's "pockmarks". I would learn more about them later.
I noticed more details on my second trip around the Coliseum...
... and this time, I successfully found the entrance.
I decided that it would be more interesting to know something about what I was looking at so I paid for a tour of the interior. This was our tour guide.
I'm glad I joined this tour, because I learned many things.
The seats, which had been made out of marble slabs, had been scavenged for other purposes in medieval times.
In fact, the Coliseum, which had been covered with white marble, was entirely stripped of that marble during those medieval times.
The "pockmarks" are in fact the way the marble was adhered to its stone base.
The seat supports are all that remain.
From the second level of the Coliseum, you can see the different tiers that the seats sat on.
The wooden cross was erected during medieval times to state that Christians now claimed this structure which had been built in pagan times.
One section of marble seats has been reconstructed to show what the seats would have looked like in pagan times.
This arena would have seated thousands and thousands of people.
From this level I would have had a great view of the proceedings.
These three lovely young ladies from Mexico were on vacation and were kind enough to write out a list of "fabulous but not touristy" vacation spots in Mexico after we had taken each other's pictures.
The stairs leading up to the outside of the building confused me at first. After all, they lead to nothing.
Then I realized that the outer wall of the Colosseum was missing at this point. The stairs would have led to an outer upper level ring. The top tier of seats would've been accessed from there.
The walls and supports of the Colosseum are all very thick.
It is no wonder that the Colosseum still stands.
I tried to think of any structure built during modern times that will last more than two thousand years as this one has.
Some parts remain somewhat intact...
... and some don't...
... but the overall structural integrity is great.
In the outside, upper deck of the Colosseum, bits and remaining artifacts are displayed.
Among the artifacts skeletons of animals slaughtered during the games...
... counterweights that eased the lifting and lowering of gates...
... and of course statues and sculptures.
Personally, I enjoyed looking at the column heads. If I were to add things to an ornamental garden, I'm sure I'd add columns.
I especially liked the lion's head, torches, and foliage on this one.
Dolphin! But why are all the ancient dolphin sculptures so mean looking?
I headed back to the main level of the Colosseum to get a better look of things there.
I found the archways so impressive! I was reminded of my elementary history lessons where we learned about the Keystone and how Manitoba, my home province, is thereforeknown as the Keystone province.
It was interesting to see that some pieces of marble remained.
It was easy to imagine the activity which would have been going on below the wooden floor of the Colosseum when you view the labyrinth of passageways.
(more of the sparsely remaining marble)
A view across the street reminded me there was much more to see... time to move on!
This souvenir gave me a chuckle. No, I didn't buy one but I took a picture to share the chuckle with you.
The gladiators weren't the only ones taking pictures...
... when in Rome, where would you have your wedding pictures taken?
I stopped for lunch at this roadside truck and admired, but did not have one of these donuts. Humongous!
After a couple of backward views...
... I was off to the Palatino.
Lots of people...
... lots of ruins...
... perhaps I should've taken the tour to understand better just what I was looking at, but instead I decided to just wander and appreciate.
I'm thinking that on a tour they wouldn't have taken to let me enjoy something so simple as the interesting bark on this tree.
To be honest, the modern fence used to restrict access to this ruin was as visually pleasing as the building itself.
On the grounds of the Palatino, there was a museum which housed the artifacts which had been discovered on site.
Most impressive to me, were the head sculptures which were done so well you might imagine a real person had somehow been turned into stone.
This lady's eyes had such a tranquil gaze.
So young, so innocent.
This man looked so exhausted.
Such a thoughtful look!
What would this young girl have experienced during her lifetime? Do you see what I mean about the lifelike quality of these head sculptures?
From what I understand, many columns were made of stone then covered in marble. This column is obviously pure marble. Wouldn't you love to have this standing in your garden?
Evidence that Rome and other Italian cities lie in a fault zone.
Since I was on top of one of Rome's hills, there were great views...
... of many other places.
Near the stairs leading down to the Roman Forum area...
... was a very pretty maze.
I took the time to enjoy the views from this upper level.
As I walked down the stairs to the lower level, I admired the stonework which has an obvious influence on modern architecture.
I suppose archaeologists have dug up most of this area. It's nice to know that landscapers have taken the time to restore some of the natural growth.
Arco de Tito...
A young man doing what I should have been doing... sketching! By the way, his sketch was very good!
There are many beautiful buildings in the Foro Romano. Some, like this one, are fairly complete but for others, only a footprint on the original building remains.
Arco de SÚtimo Seviero
This is a good example of what I meant by "only a footprint remains". Only a set of columns remain where a basilica once stood.
A view up from the Romano Foro to the Palatino.
You get so used to all the statues surrounding you in Rome, when a person masquerading as one suddenly moves, you are quite startled.
As I waited at the bus stop...
... I had a final view of the temple of Venus and Rome.
I hopped off the bus at San Giovanni...
... to get a better view of the obelisk...
... and the basilica.
When I walked inside, I almost didn't see that a service was in progress.
I still was able to see part of the elaborate basilica.
Back outside...
... I explored the outside of the basilica...
... as well as Piazza di Porta San Giovanni.
Cancelli della Vecchia Parete di Roma??
After hopping back on the bus, I missed my stop and ended up going to the end of the bus route. The bus driver kicked me off the bus saying I should take another one to get to where I wanted to be. Andrea was kind enough to direct me back to the correct stop by traveling with me and making sure I got off at the right spot. By the way... Andrea and I got back on the bus the driver had kicked me off.
I was back at the square close to the convent.
I stopped in a food store to buy dinner and was very tempted to buy a piece of one of these cakes.
Lucky for me, it was the whole cake or nothing. I safely avoided gaining the five pounds one piece would have cost me!

Below is a map showing the area I explored. Circled in red, the Colosseo, Palatino, and Foro Romano. Circled in green, the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano. Circled in blue, the area in which I was staying.

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