Our second day in Rome was aimed at the Roman ruins and the Colosseum. Again the public transport in Rome worked very well and we arrived early for our tour. This time we were able to get a slot on an earlier tour which was lucky as this tour was pretty small and we had some things we wanted to see after the tour.
We began by visiting Palantine Hill which contains many of the ruins of the old Roman city center. They are still discovering many ruins as Rome like many cities is in layers. We were told that there are seven layers of buildings from the modern we see today to the original remains of the founding of the city. We began the tour by looking over a site that was uncovered when they were extending the metro system. It was the remains of a temple and was quite impressive. The guide says this happens all of the time when new construction is begun in the city.
The tour of the ruins around the coliseum was very interesting, and the history is fascinating to hear. The ruins are different than those of Pompei because Pompei was destroyed in a flash, the ruins in Rome happened over centuries due to neglect. Originally Rome was built on hills because the areas between the hills were flood plains. Over time as the Romans developed their sewer systems they were able to manage the floods and much of what we saw today was development in what had been the flood plain. As Rome declined the sewers and other flood control measures failed, and things were covered over with mud from floods.
After a thorough exploration of Palatine Hill, we headed over to the Colosseum for the big finish of the tour. The Colosseum is an impressive structure. The resemblance to modern stadiums is striking. The building held 50,000 people for events, and they could have the crowds into the building in 30 minutes and could empty the building in 20 minutes. The construction techniques are fascinating to me, and their solutions to structural issues were quite sophisticated. Most of the seating is gone but you can easily visualize the crowds. They even had a method to cover the seats during rain using canvas and ropes.
Our final two sites for the day were the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. They are having a real Indian Summer here so the crowds at these two sites were summer like. For the Trevi Fountain I picked a spot where I could enjoy a view and let Ton dive into the crowd to get some pictures.