Our first full day in Rome today and we were extremely productive! When we got to the hostel yesterday, we decided to plan to join a walking Ancient Rome tour for this morning at 10am, despite the fact that it was supposed to be rainy all day long! We crossed our fingers and bought the tickets…and the weather gods were definitely on our side!! We had the most beautiful day and around 2pm we even got the sunshine to peek through the clouds! Nothing like blue skies and sunshine for our trip around so many of the ancient sites of the city!!

We started out our tour at the hostel with our guide, Tim, and one other bloke from Australia. It ended up being a very small tour group, which was great for us, because we really got a very personalized experience! We took the metro to our first stop, the Colosseum! We were blown away with the reality that as we climbed the metro stairs to leave the metro station, we were stuck with the magnificent view of the Colosseum! Right there in front of us! Wow! As we stared in complete awe, we spent time learning all about the uses of the Colosseum in it’s glory days; exotic animal shows, lion fights, and of course the most famous, Gladiator wars!!

As we left the Colosseum, while Tim was filling us in on all kinds of great historical facts, we moseyed over and up on top of one of the city hilltops to get a better view of the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum. It was so interesting to me that as one century’s buildings started to crumble, they would just build the new buildings on top of the ruins! In some neighborhoods, you can dig down more than 40 feet, and still find ruins dating back to the 6th century! It is mind blowing to think how old some of the things in this city are! Looking over the Forum, thinking of Caesar meeting with the senators of the Republic, where now all that is left standing are a couple of marble columns!

After those amazing views, we were lead to the Piazza Venezia, where we got our fist glimpses of Michaelangelo’s building designs! And at the bottom of the steps, two huge lion statues, more than 2,500 years old, brought over from Egypt! Not only were these statues beautiful, they were also quite handy, with fresh spring water flowing from their mouths, where we were able to fill our water bottles! How convenient, right! Can’t wait to see even more of his works when we visit the Vatican City on Monday!!

So, as we left there, we found ourselves coming up on the backside of the Pantheon. The unique dome design of this building makes it most interesting, with a hole cut out of the very top of the dome, letting in natural light, and sometimes even rain (not to worry, there are drain holes in the floor to properly drain any rain water that enters). They thought of everything! Haha! ! It was awesome to be inside the building, while watching the clouds pass by over top of us! But the most breathtaking view of the Pantheon was only discovered as we walked across the plaza and looked back on the overall magnanimity of this amazing creation! Wow! Our tour ended here with Tim giving us great directions on how to find the Piazza Navona, to explore some of the art sold in the city. Here we found a lovely little place to dine on Focaccia sandwiches with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and arugula! Yum!

Then, a bit tired on our feet, we decided to find our way over to the Trevi Fountain, to throw in our coins (legend ensures that if you throw the coin into the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder, you will one day return to Rome), and to sip a tasty cappuccinos while sitting on the steps overlooking the fountain! What a nice setting, minus the mobs of people that had the same idea on a beautiful Saturday afternoon! Haha!

Now, to the hostel bar to enjoy some free Roman pizza and to discover how spectacular Rome looks like at night! ¡Arrivederci!