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Temple Of Hercules
Mouth of Truth
Our first day in Rome started as early as I was finished with breakfast and on our way to the roman forum before 8:30. This was going to be our busiest day and I had planned on seeing eight sites in one day, it seems like a lot but they were all fairly close together and some were just monuments. Our hotel was about 6 blocks from the train station which put us in the middle of all the sites I wanted to go to.
I thought about walking to the roman forum but thought it would take us 45 minutes or more to get there from the hotel and since I wanted to be there early to beat the crowd I decided to take the bus. After arriving at the forum I only had to wait for about 5 minutes to get in. The forum was a collection of buildings having many purposes including stores, places to buy food, temples and a court of law as well and was one of the biggest business centers in Rome at the time. I stayed there for an hour or so looking at the ruins and a few buildings that were still standing and were being used to show sculptures.
Next I went to the Palatine which started at the middle of the forum and extended towards the east for three or four blocks to the colosseum and about six blocks south towards circus maximus. The palatine is what I would have to call a housing development with a large set of buildings used like apartments along with some free standing houses along with what one of the roman palaces. I was there for about an hour as well and went on to the colosseum. Before I headed into the colosseum I stopped and got a bottle of water from one of the many vendors there, however I was a little shocked at the 3 euro price, at the time 3 euro's was worth about 4 dollars.
As I got closer to the colosseum I was in awe at the size of the place being as big as any modern day stadium. Once I was close enough to really see the structure I was a little dumbfounded to see the colosseum was made with bricks and concrete. With all the documentaries I had seen and information I had read about the colosseum I didn't understand why I didn't know this. Having been to the Acropolis in Greece only 2 years earlier I assumed the colosseum was made out of carved stone like the Acropolis had been. I started by going to the top of the colosseum so I could get the best view of the place.
From the top you can see all the seating areas as well as then entire underground structure of hallways and staging areas for the men preparing to fight. As I walking down from level to level looking at everything and taking pictures I couldn't believe the place was built over 2000 years ago. I looked at how different parts of the colosseum were put together and wondered how did they figure out how to build it I spent what seemed hours looking at everything not wanting to leave a place I had dreamed about seeing for years. The funny thing is when I left the colosseum for our next site I looked at my watch and I had been there for only an hour and a half.
Our next stop was the arch of Constantine which was one of the entryways to the colosseum area. The arch was interesting and big but I only needed about 15 minutes to look it over real well. After the arch I headed down the street about 4 blocks or so walking along one side of the palatine till I got to the edge of circus maximus. This place was kind of neat but wasn't much more than a large flat piece of ground in a giant bowel, It was maybe 1500 feet long and was used for chariot racing. The part that I thought was neat about the place was the back side of the palatine was up against circus maximus and the people living there could look out there back window area and watch the racing.
After I spent most of the morning and a little bit if the afternoon looking at the major sites I wanted to see I decided to find the location of the mouth of truth then find a place to stop for lunch. I found a nice place for lunch but it was a bit of a distance from the mouth of truth but that was ok. Once in the restaurant I got menus and even though it was in Italian and english the translation seemed off, but as I often do when am vacation in foreign countries I saw someone eating something that looked good and just pointed to it when the waitress asked what I wanted and it turned out to be real good.
When I was finished with lunch I went back to the mouth of truth which is housed in the entry way to the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The mouth of truth is a big round marble carving of a face about 6 feet in diameter which at one time was a drain cover for a roman storm sewers. This little known site became popular after the movie Roman holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn was released in 1953 and remains a tourist favorite today. This site wasn't too crowded with only 60 people in front of us but with everyone having a picture of themselves taken with the face it took about 45 minutes before I got my turn in front of it.
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