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The Eternal City---ever changing

We’re home. SIGH!

Yes, it’s nice to be back, but we’re already missing being in Italy. We do, however, have a lot of great memories from what was an outstanding trip. While we will do several more blogs about the trip, this is kind of a roundup of our last three days in Rome.

Rome has long been known as the Eternal City, but while it may be eternal it is far from stagnant. This was our first trip to Rome since 2012 and it has definitely changed and, sadly, not necessarily for the better in some cases.

In our wanderings around, we remain in awe of the city, its architecture, its history and its people. Everywhere archaeological digs uncover yet another fascinating aspect of Rome and its impact on the world. Some, of course, are well known such as the Forum, the Coliseum, Palatine Hill and so many others. Elsewhere, along numerous streets you stumble upon a ruin or a dig that is either underway or recently completed. These only make an ordinary walk into an extraordinary adventure.

We did three tours that were among the best ever, including one that we may classify as THE best tour we’ve ever taken.

Our first tour, from, was an evening stroll around many piazzas. It included the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and ended in Campo dei Fiori. The leisurely stroll was coupled with a great narrative by the tour guide, an ex-Floridian, who combined general information with details about the areas we had never found in any books.

On previous visits to Rome we had, of course, been to the Coliseum. This time, we went underground. As impressive as it is above ground, what we saw underneath was awe-inspiring. We saw the replica of the winches and lifts used to bring elephants and other animals onto the arena’s floor, the hidden entrances used by gladiators to appear, and the Gate of Death through which the dead animals and gladiators were removed. From there we went to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum and heard the history of those areas.

On our last full day, we the hidden gems tour by Walks of Italy. It was SPECTACULAR. Beginning with a walking tour of the Jewish Ghetto, we went by the Teatro Marcello, also known as the Jewish Coliseum. A quick van ride took us to a stop at Circus Maximus, which had several thousand seats arranged around a giant movie screen that was showing, really, the film Gladiator. (The film, by the way, has numerous historical inaccuracies, our guide said, but it’s worth watching.)

We traveled along Via Appia Antica, of the Appian Way, one of the many roads that were built to expand the Roman Empire. Our guide noted that the expression many hear is all roads lead to Rome, but actually all roads lead from Rome.

Among the most impressive sights we have ever seen is the Park of the Aqueducts. Water is an essential of life and the Romans knew how to engineer the seemingly impossible tasks of supplying water from distant mountains to supply the city and surrounding areas. Even after thousands of years, these aqueducts show the genius of the Romans. Even today, you can drink from any fountain in Rome and get clean, cold water.

Our final stop was Janiculum Hill with its amazing view overlooking the city. Our visit was also timed so that we could witness…and hear…the daily firing of the cannon at noon.

We left Rome on an 8 a.m. flight and it was a sad goodbye to a city we promise we will again visit, and we think you should, too.

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