Roman Holiday - part 5

A brisk 40 minute walk, hardly a ramble, took us from the hotel to the Coliseum. Walking along narrow and quiet streets we could see it in the distance. Of course once there it was anything but quiet.

I don’t know what you know about the place, but its horrific use is something I was aware of. With that knowledge comes a heavy heart – something I often experience visiting a place of violence and loss that’s now transformed into a tourism attraction.

It was an interesting place to visit – it’s synonymous with Rome – but you can’t get away from its brutal past.

Walking along from the Coliseum you’re surrounded by Rome’s history. The Forum is either side of the road, look above and you’re dwarfed by monuments built to celebrate Italy’s past glories. The building where Mussolini stood on a balcony, rallying his supporters is just across the way, in sight.

Rome is one of those cities that evolved, ever-changing. The Forum is a prime example – new rulers, keen to leave their own mark, demolished buildings. But much remains…as remains. We spent the afternoon here and could easily have returned again to find new areas.

Much of our afternoon was spent trying to interpret a large poster that adorned a massive building in the distance. Distracted by this modern intrusion we deliberated for some time until realising it was an advert for a car. We had much to learn about Rome.

By now Jane was having shopping withdrawal symptoms. Me? I was just knackered. As we stopped for another coffee she decided to head off on her own and I returned to the hotel – just an hour’s walk. Despite what we knew about the city, any city, we didn’t feel inclined to stick together for the sake of safety.

We carried nothing of value and only took the cash we needed for that day – but that’s not a deterrent for a would-be thief. However, during all of the holiday only one camera had been lost. That was on the first day and had been left behind on the Metro.

More surprising than all that, not one bum was pinched. Even the perfect holiday is a compromise.