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This morning I was thinking that I would notch three days of a planned four day Rome excursion and quite frankly, I was getting a bit nervous that I was falling behind “schedule.” HAHAHA! Yes, even people on round the world trips have some sort of internal schedule they are ticking off. Basically, I was upset about the day before being more or less a rain out. Yes, I had visited the Vatican, but I had not gone in to see the Sistine Chapel, nor the world famous Vatican Museum due to the inclement weather. Grrrrr. Consequently, today – I wanted to “hit the ground running” as the saying goes. If my legs could talk, they would say, “mission accomplished.” Not only did I visit the Colosseum – spending almost 3 hours there; but I also spent a good 4 hours touring Palantine Hill, the most famous of the seven hills of Rome. All in all, quite a (walking) workout if I say so myself. More important, I felt like I really got to experience ancient Rome.

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When I arrived at the Colosseum, I was pleasantly surprised to find the line relatively short. Relative being a half hour. Not bad at all. The Colosseum was actually called the Flavian Amphitheater in ancient times. The name is derived from the huge statue of Emperor Nero that once stood near this site. At the Colosseum, they had signage which indicated the amphitheater once having a capacity of 75,000 people. However, I’ve only found online references for 50,000 total capacity. The amphitheater was a project started by the Emperor Vespacian in 72 AD and wasn’t completed until sometime in the 80s by his son, Emperor Domitian.

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The other place I visited was the Palantine Hill. On one side, it overlooks the Circus Maximus and on the other side, it
overlooks the Roman Forum. This is where Rome has its origins. Excavations reveal that this area was settled in 1000 BC. Also, Roman mythology indicates that the Palantine Hill was where the Lupercal cave was located and that Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf, that kept them alive. The other significant myth of this area involves Heracles (Hercules) who slayed the monster, Cacus, with his club because the monster had stolen cattle. While battling the monster, Heracles struck the monster so hard with his club, that a cleft was formed on the side of the hill, where later stairs were constructed and called the Cacus staircase.

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During the Republican period (509 -44 BC), many affluent Romans made their home on the hill. During the empire (27 BC – 476 AD), many Roman emperors resided on this hill. In fact, the ruins of palaces belonging to Augustus, Tiberious, and Domitian are still evident at Palantine Hill. Emperor Augustus also built a temple to the God Apollo on this site, near his palace.

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Last night, I had dinner with Tom, who is from Minnesota. The world is sure a small place, because I had briefly met Tom in another restaurant the night before. We ran into each other the next evening (last night) and after chatting a bit, we decided to have dinner together.  He introduced me to a dish that I have never had before – fried artichoke. It was excellent. I also had pasta as my main course. Again, delicious. Fast forward this evening, I went to another Italian restaurant and had that same artichoke dish and it was prepared even better than the first time I had it. Italian food is probably my favorite type of food, so I am really enjoying eating out.

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What else?  I need to decide (quickly) if I am going to stay an additional day in Rome. I think I should, since there is still so much to see. Right now, I am undecided, but I may chat with the hotel and see if I can extend one more day. If not, no biggie – I will take the train to Florence and spend a week or so there, before going to Paris, France.

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I easily must have taken 300 photos today. I took so many photos that my tablet battery was near dead by the time I returned to my hotel. Most of these photos do not have captions (the main reason being that I am pooped and my brain is misfiring right now. In short, I am going to hit the sack early this evening). Take care,  Steve 🙂

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