Rome: Day 1

We started the day by living our hotel at 10 AM and going straight to the Colosseum. As soon as we arrived there, we got an Italian tour guide that spoke English to explain us about the history of the monument. So, basically, the Colosseum used to be called “Amphitheater”, but, then, after some time, people started calling it the way we know it nowadays because of a gigantic bronze statue of the Roman emperor at that time, Nero, the one responsible for its construction. The Colosseum was an arena created to host fights between men, the gladiators (usually war slaves that started being trained in specialized schools) and wild animals (such as lions, leopards, tigers, etc.) or criminals that ended up being executed there. The seats of the audience were organized based on social order: the higher the seat, the lower the class, and, so, the emperor used to seat in the fifth row. The animals used to be imported from different parts of the world, especially Asia and Africa, being kept in cages in a basement underneath the stage (it was kind of a backstage where not only the animals, but, also the people used to stay before the fights). Such basement used to have many elevators that took the animals up to the arena, so the fighters never knew what to expect. Once, one of the senators (they used to seat in one of the first rows) got attacked by a panther, being violently killed by it. Since then, a security fence separates the spectators from the arena. After the Colosseum, we went to one the biggest gladiator’s school in Rome and saw some of its ruins. We, then, went back to the Colosseum, where we got to explore the Forum, the center of the city, where all the main buildings, temples and noble houses were. There, we also saw the remains of the Vestal Virgins’ temple. The Vestal Virgins were noble women who were chosen to be virgins for the rest of their lives and their only job was to keep the temple’s candle lighting (it symbolized life). After a great Italian lunch we went to the Casa Romana, which is an archaeological site that consisted of buildings built in 200 A.D. that approached shops and houses for the middle class Roman citizens. We, then, went back to the hotel and after a little of resting, we went out for dinner in one of the most famous squares of Rome, Piazza Sidney Sonnino.

Beatriz Rigueira, Eugênia Affonso, & Lulu Chavez

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