Thursday, August 11, 2011

Buon Giorno! Benvenuti a Roma!

Gladiator (directed by Ridley Scott starring Russel Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix) was, and is still is, one of my favorite movies of all time. The movie opened my eyes to Roman history and culture and from then on, I have always dreamt of making it to Rome to see the Colloseo.

And I did. That was the moment that I realized that I had made it.

Rome (Roma) is the capital city and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy and is the third most visited in the European Union. Its historic center is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city has so much history: the rise of the Roman Empire, Julius Caesar, battles in the Colosseum, home of the Vatican and it goes on.

I was fortunate enough to have visited Rome the first time with a good friend. She was a fellow Filipina who was also my batchmate during our abinitio (training) days at Emirates. It was both our first time so we tried to make the most out of it. We stayed at the Hilton Rome Airport Hotel which was not very far and luckily, the hotel had a shuttle to take guests in and out of the city.

At the Hilton Rome Airport Hotel
With Gina

Rome is a beautiful place once you make it to the tourist spots, but elsewhere it was not as pleasant. There were trash and beggars on the streets and at night, you would see hookers in skimpy clothing, some even naked, along the highway. Fact: Prostitution is legal in Italy.

The beggars in Rome are actually more artistic and put on costumes to entertain tourists. 

The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II) or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) or "Il Vittoriano" is a monument to honour Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. The monument was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885. The base of the structure houses the museum of Italian Reunification. In 2007, a panoramic elevator was added to the structure, allowing visitors to ride up to the roof for 360 degree views of Rome.

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

Inside and surrounding the monument are sculptures of Roman heroes and influences. 

This fountain, unofficially named "Foutnain of Tears", can be found in the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II.

Sculpture of Zeus who, in the ancient Greek religion, is the "Father of Gods and men"  who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus. He is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology.

At the Cordanata (meaning: wide ramped stairs) steps, designed by world-renowned artist Michelangelo. It was built to be wide enough for horse riders to ascend the hill without dismounting.


This is at the Piazza del Campidoglio - an elliptical courtyard with a central figure sculpture of Julius Caesar, also designed by Michelangelo. Behind us is the sculpture of Julius Caesar - a Roman general and statesman who played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

 The Roman Forums a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome.

The Arch of Constantine is located right next to the Colosseum. The Senate built this arch in 315 AD to honor Constantine's defeat of the pagan Maxentius. Many of the carvings on this arch have nothing to do with Constantine or his works, but were taken from other long forgotten memorials.

And of course, the most popular landmark in Rome - The Colosseo. It is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering.

Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

Rome is a wonderful place that I would love to come back to over and over again. It is one of my favorite cities in the world (I'm being biased because I have been dreaming of this place for a long time!). 

I saw this couple having their prenup taken and I just couldn't help but wish it was me ***

There's still more to Rome. The Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, the gelato... but that deserves another entry on its own.

I have finally had my Gladiator moment... and  again, have made a dream come true.

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