“Man, this is hot!” said the wife.
“Come on, we came from a place with sun all year round, this is nothing,” I replied.
The whole family started to put on their hats and sunglasses. It is indeed hot after the relatively cold weather of Paris and Amsterdam, Rome weather could be considered closer to home, the weather that is, not the place.
The sun was on top of our heads and shining down brightly, which wasn’t a good thing if you were planning for the tour of the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, since all the architecture and stuffs are underneath the hot sun with only a few trees providing shade at certain areas.
We took the entrance which was nearer to the Colosseum, they have public WC here just right after the entrance, so don’t worry, modern plumbing goes hand in hand with ancient Rome!
Our first stop was the Palatine Museum or Antiquario Palatino. It is located on top of the Palatine Hill (obviously) and we had to follow an uphill path to reach it. Let me remind you one thing : hot weather and uphill stroll shouldn’t be placed in the same sentence.
Before arriving at the museum, you will encounter some of the remnants of the garden that once stood here. Now, all that’s left are some newly planted flowers and crumbling bricks or stones. These were all once part of a bigger enclosure of a palace that was the residence of emperors for three centuries.
“Where is the head?” asked Mom, as we entered the museum. What she was referring to was the ‘Magna Mater’ (The Great Mother) on her throne, actually the cavity where her head was supposed to be wasn’t destroyed by time, it was actually a device in which interchangeable heads could be inserted! Talk about variety being the spice of life.
“Legend has it that Romulus founded Rome, and I guess all of you have heard of the story where the brothers were raised by wolves,” I said while referring to my guide book. “Surprise surprise, what you see here is proof that this wasn’t a legend at all,” I continued. I directed them to the Iron Age huts which was also called “The Huts of Romulus and Remus”, proving that there was such a place in which these brothers were rumored to be born.
If you’re wondering why they built the palace here on the Palatine Hill, this view below should be worth a thousand words. You can find this view right at the end of the Farnese Gardens, just before entering the Roman Forum.
Tip: Fluids are required for such a hot day like this and luckily they have a fountain within the Farnese Gardens in which we can refill. Surprisingly the water is cooler than the weather.
“What? More ruins?!” exclaimed QS.
“I sense that the shopaholic in you is itching to get out of this place,” I replied.
Anyway, we are at the last leg of the Ancient Rome tour brought to you by yours truly. Here lies what is known as the Roman Forum. You could actually start from here and make your way to the Colosseum or you could do it the other way round.
We start off at the foot of the Arch of Titus, this is the “Main Street” of ancient Rome, a place where the heroes and conquerors would ride through and the Roman public would cheer and whistle from the sides. With the Arch at your back, the partial huge arches on your right are the remnants of the Basilica of Constantine, what was gone was the roof, which still goes on for about 50 feet higher than the remaining structures.
“It would surely came in handy on a hot day like this,” Dad said, wiping the sweat of his brow.
Walking down the path, we would be in, what the place was known as — The Forum. It is basically a flat patch of land in between all the crumbling monuments surrounding us. But just take a minute to imagine what it would be like if the monuments were still standing today and the throngs of Japanese and Chinese tourists were part of the Roman citizens back in the days, this was a busy area and a place to meet up.
At the end of this Forum, lies the Temple of Julius Caesar.
“What? Temple?” asked Mom.
“Why yes, Emperor Augustus dedicated the temple in his name, making him the first Roman to become a god. It was also the place where his body was burned after his assassination.
The weather was getting unbearable now, as we raced through and took photos of the remaining ruins. It was time to get out and away from ancient Rome.
A short note on Trajan’s Column, if you take good notice, the column is actually filled with pictures and stories of Trajan and his victories. Although our human eye could only pick out some of it and even so, you need to have an in depth knowledge of Rome History to figure out what they are all about. No worries though, if you are interested in the full story, you can see the whole story, unraveled (pun intended) at E.U.R.’s Museum of Roman Civilization.
(to be continued)