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The Coliseum and the Forum
On the far side of this incredible structure, we had the first view of the the most famous remnants of the Roman Empire - the Roman Forum and the Coliseum. Everyone has seen pictures of these wonderful sites, but we'll share a few of ours.
View of the Arch of Septimus Severus and over the Forum
Place of Caesar's cremation and Mile Marker 0 of the Roman Road System
Temple of Venus and the View toward Arch of Titus
Arch of Titus and view of the Coliseum
After a stop for a drink, we walked on to the Coliseum
The Inside is Immense
View back toward the Forum and the Arch of Constantine
In Roma, we discovered the Parco Acquedotti, a broad green grassy place at the edge of the city where the aqueducts that brought water to Roma still stand. The Roman engineers designed these aqueducts to bring fresh water to Roma from pristine streams and rivers far beyond the city. Only remnants of the Claudian aqueduct, built in 52 AD, have survived (below).
We followed long stretches of the Aquaduct Felice, built in the 1500s, long after the Roman empire had ceased to exist (below left). This sturdy, utilitarian structure follows its course, through the park, then on through adjoining neighborhoods, past olive groves and houses, to the Tor Fiscale, an ancient watchtower, now surrounded by homes and gardens (below right).
Via Appia Antica (the Appian Way)
We walked from the old Porta along the Via Appia Antica, learning that the area surrounding the old road has been protected by the Commune of Roma as a Parco Regionale.
We stopped at the Visitor Center for a map and information and continued our walk after turning to view the Porta San Sebastian, still in use today (below left). We learned that construction on this road was begun in 312 BC, initially to enable transport, travel and communication as far as Capua. Later, it was extended on to Brindisi way in the south of Italy on the Adriatic Sea! It was wide enough for vehicles traveling in opposite directions to pass each other. The road was originally paved with large basalt rocks and lime cement so that the surface was smooth but today, the cement is gone and the road is far from smooth (below right), but in still in use for two way traffic.
We continued our walk, past the Circus of Emperor Maxentius and the Tomb of Cecelia Metella, wife of one of Julius Ceasar's generals. Further on the old road was better preserved and ran through fields, past woods.
Out in a grassy field, two young foxes played, rolling over each other, unaware of our presence. We were charmed. It was late afternoon so we headed back home, feeling as if we had been transported back to a time long ago but not forgotten.
Ostia, the Port of Roma
While it is possible to travel to Ostia by Metro, we decided to take a boat down the Tiber. As we traveled along the river, watching the ducks, herons and egrets, we tried to imagine the river filled with barges loaded with large jars of grain, amphorae filled with wine and olive oil, marble blocks, and all other manner of stuff moving upriver to supply the people of Roma.
We arrived at the quay and began our walk through Ostia, feeling the ghosts of the merchants, shopkeepers and dockworkers that lived in this once thriving city.
As we explored we were impressed by grandeur of the public building (top pictures), the beauty in the residences (middle pictures) and the size of the public buildings and wide boulevards (bottom pictures).
Roma - A Lesson We Should Learn
They built this vital infrastructure to last and so it still stands today, a testimony to the commitment of the leaders and the ingenuity of the engineers and builders of that time long ago.
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