Today, we went to visit the Eternal City, and got caught doing the obligatory stop of the Colosseum. When I say ‘got caught’, that is almost literal, as before you even get out of the subway station by the Colosseum, you get accosted by people trying to sell you tours of the iconic landmark. On this non-high-season day, it was still a mob scene outside this building.
To me, the Colosseum was rather underwhelming, as it is filled with too many tour groups and not enough space to actually appreciate the building itself; the restoration is not exactly spot on in getting you the feel of what it may have been like during the days of its operation. That was the mediocre part of the day…
Then there’s the Palatine Hill and Forum, which is part of the same tour ticket as the Colosseum; hint: go to the Palatine Hill box office, as the lines are much shorter and buy your ticket there. Wandering through this area gives you a good impression of what it may have been like during the heyday of the Roman regime, whether republic or empre. There are fantastic views and interesting discoveries. Because of its size, you don’t feel overrun by tour groups and masses of people, as you do across the street.
Bonus discovery: if you take a wrong turn toward the Palatine Hill, don’t just turn back, but continue into the church of Saint Francisca, which is impressive and usually devoid of people.