For our third day in Rome, we spent a rainy Saturday exploring the Roman Forum and Colosseum. We set off at 8:30, taking Metro Line B Termini to the Colosseo stop.
I read many tips that suggested going to the Forum first, purchasing the joint ticket for the Forum and Colosseum, and avoiding the long lines at the Colosseum. Everything I read was completely true. There was no line at the Forum when we arrived. We purchased our tickets no problem and walked through the Forum. There were few other people when we started, though the longer the day went on the busier it got. It rained the entire day unfortunately, which made walking around the Forum a bit difficult and muddy, but I loved the fact that we weren’t feeling rushed or pressed by crowds.
It’s amazing seeing these ruins and imagining them as they were at the height of the Roman empire. Roads, shops… an entire metropolitan city unfolds before your eyes.
The Forum and the Colosseum are right next to each other, which makes it easy to work your way from one to the other, no matter which you start with.
When we arrived at the Colosseum there were several long lines. Again, since we had already purchased our joint ticket we didn’t have to wait in the line to purchase our ticket. Most people have caught onto these tricks over the years, so I imagine the lines for those who already have tickets will eventually be just as long, if not longer, than those who still have to purchase a ticket.
Booking tour guides or joining group tours has never been of much interest to me. Of course local tour guides have a wealth of knowledge and I’m always up for learning new things, but I tend to enjoy exploring and discovering on my own. Yet I went back and forth on this point when planning my trip to Rome for one reason: the only way to walk the floor or lowest level of the Colosseum is to do so as part of a booked tour. In the end I decided to forego the tour, but I would 100% recommend it as I wanted nothing more than to be with the people walking around the lowest level as I was in the Colosseum.
Even though it felt like we had already experienced an entire day, it was only lunch time. Andrea, our London host, had another wonderful recommendation for us; Taverna dei Quaranta, located near the Colosseum at 24 via Claudia. I highly recommend eating here before or after visiting the Colosseum. It is just a short walk, and it was absolutely delicious. I ate the best carbonara of my life here! It was also nice to get out of the rain for a while.
I want to note that while I’ve been much more dedicated to learning Italian in recent months, I didn’t speak much Italian at all, outside of hello, goodbye, and excuse me, while I was in Italy. We didn’t have any issues the entire time. Of course this is to be expected at such huge tourist destinations as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum, but the staff at the restaurants were wonderful as well, despite our occasional difficulties in understanding each other.
After returning to our AirBnB to warm up and dry off, we headed out again, back to via del Corso and the Piazza di Spagna area for some shopping. We spent some time casually wandering around, making our way from Campo de Fiori back to Piazza di Spagna. Karol had yet to experience true Italian gelato so we stepped into a gelateria and changed that unfortunate fact immediately. We wandered around, eating our gelato, and stumbled upon a street band performing to a rapidly growing crowd. We stopped to listen and heard them play some great songs. I’m not sure what it is about the younger generation in Europe, but they are obsessed with 70s and 80s American rock bands. I could always count on hearing a group of my students in France playing Pink Floyd during their free periods in the courtyard.
It’s the unexpected experiences like this that make traveling what it is.
Travel tip: Keep an open mind and stay patient when traveling in countries where a different language is spoken. Make an effort to learn the basics and your attempts will be appreciated!