Thursday, 11 June 2015

Roman Forum and First Night in Trento

On our final day we decided to do the one thing I had wanted to do in Rome all along. That is to trundle around the ruins of downtown ancient Rome, where the center of civilisation could said to have been run for almost 500 years (n.b. this is my amazingly historically accurate/massive assumption dating from the end of the 2nd Punic war to when Emperor "Christianity" moved the official capital of Rome to Byzantium/Constantinople).

We had been wondering around Rome for several days now with nothing but our legs and as we'd be leaving direct from Rome's main train station (Termini) to Trento we decided to brave the Metro train system to get to the Colosseo station which is close to the Forum and the Coloseum - duh!

The train system was very easy to navigate. There was Line A, Line B and either a 24 hour or 100 minute ticket. We bought the 24 hour ticket for no apparent reason and paid 14 Euro for the privilege, that is 7 Euro each, where we could have bought two 100 minute tickets for 1.5 Euro a pop (6 Euro total) as we only needed to get there and back. So tip to young players - get the 100 minute ticket!

When you get to the Forum ruins, you are greeted with the Arch of Titus... no scratch that, you are greeted with a queue as long as the arch of Titus. This historical tourist attraction wasn't as set upon by fanatics as the Vatican was but was very busy all the same.

Arch of Titus
Thankfully the area containing the ruins and the forum is so large you can get around and have a look at things in your own time rather easily. There is a ForumApp you can download (it's 220 MB with the update) which purports to help you around. I found this app to be more of a hindrance than a help and was much happier using the signage posted at various points of interest.

House of the Vestal Virgins
Panoramic View from Above, taking in House of the Vestals
Without going into to broad a detail, we had a lovely time walking around. As you begin to put together in your own mind what the completed works would look like it is impossible not to gape at the sheer monstrous size of the architecture and construction. There was certainly some muscle flexing involved when designing these buildings.

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
Whilst size is one parameter that strikes you directly, the intricacy and complexity of the ruins is equally amazing. There isn't a single building who's adornments don't make me wonder why modern architecture is so "straight". Form and function, hey? Is modern society fixated on easily fabricated designs? Or is it possibly the software? Why do we design square concrete buildings? I guess it's worth noting that the highly affluent of the ancient era were the ones building these magnificent structures, but it is hard to wonder why we can't have more of such beautiful buildings in the modern world. *sigh*
The old City Square
Looking Back Towards the Colosseum
Looking down on the forum (broader view)
Apart from gazing in wonderment and attempting to reconstruct myself in ancient down town Rome I did truly feel that at moments I was living the history. I felt guilty walking inside the house of the vestal's knowing full well this was not a place of men. I felt a sense of awe as I walked down the streets of large stone with columns towering overhead, at the age of the historical dwellings found on the Palatine dating back past the 7th century BBC when the Tarquin kings ruled Rome, even possibly, the first house of Romulus himself, who founded Rome in 753 BC. Spine tingling stuff (for me anyway).

Brianna has heard enough about Roman history...
I loathe this whole self righteous selfie crap - but here's one anyway

It took us about 2 hours to walk around the Forum and associated ruins. We then fled back to Termini train station and headed off for Trento on a super fast train. The train took a little over 4 hours (4 hours 2 minutes) for around a 600 Km journey. It was lovely to see the inside of a tunnel wall almost exclusively from Firenze to Verona, however, from Verona to Trento we had lovely views of the high mountains hiding Lake Garda (Lago di Garda), the Adige river (Fiume Adige). We were met by Eveline at the train station and went back to her apartment (currently vacant) where we'll be staying whilst in Trento.

View from Eveline's Apartment
 Eveline then took us out to a lovely restaurant called Green Tower (there is a tower that used to be a fort across the road) where I had some salty yummy, thin beef with potato frittats and a salad... meat and potatoes but done really nicely! There was also a "party" on that night which we trundled off to after dinner. I was suprised when the sounds of some serious Euro Trash techno came blasting up at us and we were greeted with a fairly large open air "party".

Nothing too weird about that, except it was just an ordinary Wednesday. The area is on a bike track that has a cafe/restaurant for the cyclists coming through. Every Wednesday they crank up this full sized party which I'm sure had most of the population of Trento as revelers. Certainly age and station were no barriers!

So Welcome to Trento. Built upon the old Roman site of Tridentum (recently uncovered - yes more Roman history for Brianna!) and has a very rich history during both medieval and modern times also. Check out some information from the source of all truth, Trento.

WTF? It's Wednesday guys!


  1. Wow. I'm feeling over educated.

  2. I think the most amazing thing is that you had a salad!

  3. sorry Paul, I ramble a bit. Neil, I wasn't out to make any friends!