Rome in Ruins
On our second day in Rome we had a morning tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum and later visited the Pantheon. I've never been one to splurge on guided tours but between this one and the one we took a week later in Florence I may have been converted. The ruins we walked through were magnificent and a wonder to take in, but as we learnt more about the history of what we were looking at we appreciated everything so much more. Little things like learning what caused all the holes in the Colosseum (people harvesting the iron supports from within the concrete after the fall of the empire) to understanding the purpose of each building throughout the hub of the once most powerful city in the world.
I always thought that Rome consisted of little more than the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, and gelato. I'd had a lot of friends express their disappointment with Rome, that it was too touristy and too dirty. I, however, was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved the city. Yes, there were a lot of tourists - but rightly so! There is so much history to take in all over the city. The ruins at the Forum and Palatine Hill were incredible, and the food really was delicious. I didn't find it to be significantly more dirty that other cities I've been to in Europe, either. I'm not sure I would want to live in Rome, but I'm definitely glad I visited.