Day 4 in Rome – Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatino, Bocca della Verità, St Peter’s Basilica (The Dome)

Day 4 – Sight seeing at Colosseum > Roman Forum > Palatino > Quick lunch on the way to Bocca della Verita > Bocca della Verita > sight seeing at the dome at St Peter’s Basilica > Dinner near Pantheon

We had passed the Colosseum a couple of times before and finally the day came to venture inside. There was a long queue of tourists waiting to get in, but we were able to skip the line with our Roma Pass. The pass includes entry to Roman Forum and Palatino. My first impression was that the Colosseum looks a lot bigger on the outside, inside is actually quite tight, though it is still quite spectacular, undoubtedly one of the highlights of the whole trip.

Rome map1

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As I remembered from the Gladiator movie, the arena was where prisoners fought off wild beasts in front of the crowds over a thousand year ago. IMG_5971

The Colosseum has 3 levels. The top level is the best for taking photos of the interior. The underground level was where the wild animals were caged.IMG_5983

Despite the violent history, the Colosseum itself is quite spectacular especially given it was built in AD80.

The view of Arco di Constantino from Colosseum. 2014-10-18 10.38.29

Opposite to the Colosseum is the Temple of Venus and Roma. It is actually a great spot, possibly the best, to take a photo of the Colosseum, without having random tourists next to you in the photo. 2014-10-18 10.38.09

We didn’t stay at Colosseum for too long as we were on a tight schedule. Here is the Colosseum shot taken from the Temple of Venue and Roma. IMG_5991

View of the Roman Forum. The ruins are quite spread out. We didn’t walk to every single part of it as it was quite far apart.

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We took some random shots of the Roman Forum and Palatino and left. The sun and the hot weather made us reluctant to walk. Mr Map would have probably walked a lot more if he was on his own despite the weather, though the back of his shirt was already soaked with sweat.

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We took the exit at the Palatino and walked to Bocca della Verita (mouth of truth). You will see a long line of tourists waiting to take a photo with this monument. It is also a famous scene of Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. Legend has it that if you put your hand in the carved mouth and tell a lie, it will bite your hand off. It seems that it didn’t work on Mr Map. He didn’t get a bite even though he has been telling lies all his life.IMG_5999

Bocca della Verita

Opening Hours: 09:30 to 17:50 (summer); 09:30 to 16:50 (winter)

http://www.turismoroma.it/cosa-fare/bocca-della-verita?lang=en

We traveled back to St Peter’s Basilica again after our visit at Bocca della Verita. It was 2 days in a row we visited the same place. This time we got there early and as we planned, we could finally visit the dome. There is an admission fee to visit the dome. You can either take the elevator (still have to walk 320 steps up) or walk all the way up (total 551 stairs). We chose to take the elevator and it costs us €7 per person. It was totally worth it. 2015-05-30 21.27.472015-05-30 21.28.07 IMG_6009 2014-10-18 16.17.18

Once you step out of the elevator, you will see this. Only 320 steps more to reach the top! 2014-10-18 16.27.04

Interior of St Peter’s Basilica from above. IMG_6004

It is very narrow inside. DSC_0258

The dome was packed with tourists and you could barely move but this view was totally worth the effort. 2014-10-18 17.30.10

There is a souvenir shop before taking the elevator down.

St Peter’s Basilica

Opening hours to the Dome: 08:00-18:00 (Apr to Sep); 08:00-17:00 (Oct to Mar)

http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/informazioni-utili.html

After running around visiting different sites, we got very hungry and read about this Sicilian arancino restaurant. Arancini are fried rice balls with assorted stuffing. 2014-10-18 18.34.44 2014-10-18 18.10.00 2014-10-18 18.14.04 2014-10-18 18.14.46

They are massive and delicious! 2014-10-18 18.17.16

Arancini with meat & pea ragu (left), tomato and eggplant (middle) and Arancini with truffle & cheese (right). They are all very tasty and cheap, a perfect snack for tourists on the go and a budget.

Mondo Arancina

Opening hours: 10:00-midnight

Address: Via Marcantonio Colonna 34, Rome

http://en.yelp.com.hk/biz/mondo-arancina-roma

As soon as we finished our arancini, we went next door to have dessert. Gelarmony is famous for their cannoli, a traditional Italian pastry with sweeten ricotta. They also have a great selections of gelato.

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This is the cannoli. I found it a bit too sweet though, and even Mr Map with his sweet tooth found it quite sweet. Definitely need a glass of water to wash it down with.

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It is better to stick with gelato, above picture already half eaten. Mr Map couldn’t wait until I took a photo.

Gelarmony

Opening hours: 10:00-01:30

Address: Via Marcantonio Colonna 34, Rome

http://www.gelarmony.it/en/

We took a bus back to Centro Storico area for dinner after the arancini and gelato. We were planning to go to Casa Coppelle, a modern Italian restaurant, for our last meal in Rome. We did not make reservation in advance and checked if they accept walk-in. Most customers make a reservation in advance and being a bit more up-market style, smart casual is the norm. The waiter told us to wait and kind of forgot about us, nor did he check if there was a table available. Maybe he was offended by our casual style, but after fobbing us off, we couldn’t be bothered either and went to a restaurant nearby.

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The portion was so big that we couldn’t finish all of it. We were exhausted after a full day of walking and decided to get ready early for Florence tomorrow!

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