Today was the day I had been looking forward to all week.
Today was the day I got to see the main attraction, the reason I was in ROme in the first place.
Today was the day I visited the Colosseum, and I was not disappointed at all!
As it was my final day in Rome I had to check out, I got all my bag packed and left it in a locker at the hostel. At 9am I left and wandered to the Colosseum. Everything I’d read about this place stated the queues were insane and that I would be waiting for hours. All the ticket touts outside were clarifying this too, offering skip the line and tours for exorbitant prices (€30-40). Instead I took my place in the queue and waited it out. It took about 10 minutes to get through security and buy my ticket for the reasonable price of €12. Plus, there are so many guided tours and people telling each other about everything, I just stood behind these people and eavesdropped, thereby not missing out on anything due to my stingy ways. I got to learn all about the pulley system to raise the animals into the arena, the erosion of the stairs, the graffiti everywhere. It was an absolute colossus of a place and so glad I got to spend time there. It took me about an hour and a half to make my way around the whole building. There’s a lot of interesting displays hidden within the walls and a few information boards explaining the artifacts and how it would’ve looked during it’s usage.
Eventually, I made my out of the Colosseum and found myself in the queue for Palatine Hill/Forum. This is a archaeological dig site and its actually included in the ticket price. After only 5 minutes of waiting, I was inside to explore. As I walked around the site, there were a lot of people talking about the place and loads of information stands so once again I didn’t need to invest in a tour. The dig is still ongoing but they have managed to uncover a lot already. There’s a gymnasium to exercise the horses, the hut village that apparently housed Romulus and a lot more gaudy displays. The museum on the site displays loads of statues and treasures that have been unearthed. The only problem with not having a tour is that I did find it impossible to navigate my way around without crossing the same path two or three times.
Included in the ticket price was also access to the Roman Forum and also the Santa Maria Antiqua. The Forum is also an archaeological dig site but a lot more buildings are intact. There is the old Basilica which could’ve been used as a church, meeting point or even a marketplace.
Having walked around for the better part of 7 hours, I thought it best to have a bit of lunch and relax. I bought myself a sandwich and drink and found a little garden to eat in. After this I headed back to my hostel where I got my stuff together and then proceeded to my bus.
Getting to the bus was chaotic to say the least. I got to the Tiburtina station and had a look around but no departure board. How was I supposed to know where the bus stop was? I asked a guard who had absolutely no idea either. He had to ask someone else and eventually they found my bus. When the bus arrived, the driver kept stating Monaco but when he confirmed with me he said München, the actual German name, I must look German or something?
Eventually boarded my bus and waved goodbye to Italy.