Our fabulous host, Claudia, at the B & B Oro, was able to accomodate us for an extra night and kindly picked us up from the metro station closest to the B & B. We settled in quickly and then headed off to indulge in some monuments and manzo. Rome is a very easy city to travel around, Line A of the metro has stops at virtually every major attraction within the central city (Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps) and the B line covers the Colosseum and Trastevere region of Rome. Last time we were in Rome, Craig and I didn’t manage to see the Colosseum, so this was first on our hit list for this trip.
Normally you would be pushed to spend less than half an hour in a queue waiting for a ticket, but our tactic of arriving an hour or two before closing worked again. We waited for about ten minutes and then we were in! The colosseum is a place that breaths history, walking through the ancient archways and up narrow stone steps, you can imagine the publicans of Rome running down the stairs trying to get a better view of the action.
The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre that was built in Rome. It was constructed under the orders of Vespasian in 70 AD, and was completed in 80 AD. An incredible acheivement, given the sheer magnitude of the building. Throughout the first to fourth century AD, the colosseum was used as a public arena and was the main form of entertainment for the citizens of Rome. Classical Mythology was re-enacted, as well as gladiatorial fights and public spectacles. Most people know of the bloody history of persecuting Christians, however this practice was discontinued in the fourth century after Constantine took over Italy and declared the Doctrine of the Trinity. Due to economic pressures and impending war, the Colosseum’s entertainment era ended in the mid 400s, from then on it was used as an Army base, fortress and storage area. Today, it has been lovingly restored and is visited by thousands of visitors per year.
It is an impressive building that is the iconic symbol of Rome.
As usual food features largely in our travel itinerary. Rome was no exception.
After we had completed our trip to the Colosseum, we were both quite hungry. Last time we were in Rome, we had discovered an awesome little griglieria, named Mr Manzo close to the Via Prenestina. You can select from five different types of steak (Argentinian, Irish, Danish, Scottish or Italian) and have them cooked different ways. The meat is displayed near the entry to the restaurant and is cut fresh when you order it. The service is impeccable and the staff are always delighted to help you. It is a reasonably priced steak at around 4 – 5Euro per 100g (minimum order is 300g).
Our other culinary explorations included Foodoo, which was excellent and provided a more fine dining approach to Italian cuisine with their degustation boards. These contained three samples of a specific province of food in Italy or type of meat/seafood, it was a nice change from the substantial meals we had been eating !
The purpose of our trip to Italy was to purchase some more delicious Olive oil. This was my third time in Italy, every time I go, I purchase a bottle or five of Italian Olive Oil to have at home, and every time it runs out, it’s time to go back. This time was no exception, we bought a couple of litres to take home, and branched out a little, buying a few flavoured/infused oils, including the infamous truffle infusion. Needless to say, I was happy.
A little shopping was also in order in Roma, my favourite shop is Sandro Ferrone on Via del Tritone, close to the Trevi Fountain. For around $100NZ you can buy an Italian made and designed dress, the staff are infinitely helpful and are happy to play dress ups, offering all the accessories you could ever require. The hardest thing is to not buy everything you try on.
In essence Rome is one of my favourite cities in Italy, it has the right mix of monuments, shopping and good food. Visit, you’ll love it.
Tomorrow we say arrivederci Italy and Sawadee ka to Bangkok!
Tune in for a culture change.
Ginga Musings out.