Ancient Rome, museum and one small island in Rome

{ Rome, Italy - May 2011 }

Although the first day in Rome was really just half a day, it felt like I had already seen so much in such a short time. So, it was quite overwhelming just to imagine all the other magnificent treasures that the city has to offer on our second day there. Again, it was filled with so many treasures and history with thousands of years in the making, that one may need a lifetime to experience it all. So, a word of advice for those going to Rome - do not expect to see everything in one trip!

Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine

As I mentioned in my previous post (Rome in black and white), words would not be able to express the magnificence of the buildings from ancient Rome. At the colosseum, it was easy to imagine the gladiators and all the spectators sitting around the colosseum. Of course, movies like the Gladiator helped put the image in my head. And in the Roman Forum and Palatine, imagining that all the tourists were wearing togas and sandals transported me right in the middle of the ancient Rome civilisation.

One of the temples and stories that intrigued me was the House of the Vestal Virgins. Vestal Virgins were a group of chosen young girls who were sworn to celibacy for 30 years. Their main tasks were to maintain the fire sacred to Vesta, the virgin goddess of the hearth, home and family, ensuring that the fire would not die out. It has such an ancient mystique to it!

Capitoline Museum

Right above the Cordonata, the graceful staircase designed by Michaelangelo, was Piazza del Campidoglio. A relatively small and squarish piazza surrounded by three palazzi - Palazzo Nuovo, Palazzo Senatorio and Palazzo dei Conservatori. The buildings are now home to the Capitoline Museum, so you can imagine the scale of the museum. It is one of the world's oldest national museum, and is full of statues, inscriptions and artifacts. However, my favourite sculpture is definitely the Boy with Thorn. A simple sculpture of a boy removing a thorn from his foot.


Isola Tiberina

Feeling hungry after the long day, we decided to have dinner across the Tiber River at Trastevere. We took the opportunity to walk across the world's smallest inhabited island, Isola Tiberina or Tiber Island. It is merely 270m long and 67m wide. It has been associated with fertility and even has a public hospital for maternity facilities. And of course, the island needs a church, the Chiesa di San Bartolomeo.

The day ended with a hearty dinner and the view of the Tiber River as the sun set.

::: Footnotes :::

{ Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine } The €9 ticket includes entrance to Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine, and is valid for two days. However, if you plan to spend some time in Rome visitng the many sites, to get the Roma Pass. As the pass includes free entry to the first 2 sites visited, do use it for the Colosseum. There is also a special line for Roma Pass holders.

{ Capitoline Museum } Situated at Piazza del Campidoglio, the ticket costs €9. The museum is open from 9am to 8pm from Tuesday to Sunday, and closed on Monday.

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