Yesterday I again ventured out into the many streets of Rome, this time focusing on the Southeast corner of the city, and most especially the area surrounding the ancient Roman Forum and Colosseum.
But first, an image to show the craziness that is Italian power:
These crazy little buggers are everywhere. It's always an ordeal to tell which way is on, and which is off, because in Italy, I don't know if there's any standard 'up is on, and down is off' kind of system. Also, most outlets are arranged with ground in the middle prong, with three across. Seems odd to me - anyone know the reasoning behind this? I know in America, our ground sticks out further than the hot leads to ensure a ground is made before the power is hot, but it doesn't seem to be the case over here.
Anyways, back to Roma...
The Colosseum - A beautiful building with a sad history.
The Colosseum is a pretty impressive place - it's about the size of a moderate sports arena nowadays (more like a college one than a pro-sports arena), and more than half of the thing is still intact! I didn't go inside, since I didn't fancy waiting inside for half an hour and missing out on other sights, but from the outside, it's a pretty darned cool place! Plus, with the Arch of Titus close by, it's pretty imposing, if you know what happened inside 2,000 years ago.
It's too bad the Circus Maximus barely exists anymore—I was extremely excited to see this wonderful artifact of one of my favorite parts of Roman history, racing—but such is the way of things in such an old city! Here it is today:
Not much left. This is a tiny part of what used to be a huge race track!
Moving back to more positive and intact things... here's a nice shot of the ceiling of the baptistry in the St. Mary Major Basilica just north of the Redemptorist house where I was staying:
Mary is being Assumed into Heaven up there.
The Church is guilded in gold all over the place, and though it's not a very tall Church, it's exceedingly beautiful on the inside. There are two side chapels worth writing home about (although both were locked when I visited), and the sanctuary area is full of much eye candy. Also, buried under the altar is the final resting place of the remains of St. Jerome, and the altar where St. Ignatius of Loyola offered his first Mass!