Tag: gladiators

Day 3 in Rome – The Colosseum and Roman Forum

If you’re going to have to turn 40, there are worst ways to start your day than waking up in Rome with a visit to the Colosseum on the cards. Once again my pre-planning had come into it’s own, because I found through research that the Colosseum has bookable private tours of areas not open to the public. I wanted to get tickets for the undergound tour, which are are only released a few weeks in advance; I knew they were in high demand and unfortunately missed out. Fortuitously though, a new tour has just been launched – the Belvedere tour – which takes visitors up to the third and fourth tiers of the structure giving incredible views and a real feel of the size of the arena, so we still got to do something “extra” than most people have access to.

As we approached the Colosseum it was so strange to see the contrast of modern construction against such an old and important point of interest (a new underground rail line is being built to service this area of the city).

I underestimated the walking distance from our hotel (much to the chagrin of the husband and his aching bones) so we arrived just about in time to go through security and meet up with our tour guide. Everyone was given a headset to listen to the very interesting commentary as we walked around. The tour starts in the same entrance used by all visitors and then proceeds to the higher levels which are behind locked doors and only accessed by venue officials.

We learned that, despite depictions in films, gladiators fought other gladiators (highly trained fighter who went to “Gladiator School” in an attempt to gain fame and fortune) and not animals (that was reserved for criminals). We learned that it was not only lions that were shipped in for these fights, but also larger African animals like elephants and giraffes! We learned that, to celebrate the opening of the Colosseum in 80AD (known the as the Flavian Amphitheatre), a 100 day ceremony took place which saw events and fighting every day for the length of the opening ceremony. Tickets to attend events at the Colosseum were free, on a first come first served basis, and carved into a stone tablet, apart from upper class seats, right at the side of the arena, which were reserved for the ruling emperor, politicians and wealthy upper class members of society. We looked down from the highest possible point of the structure, looking at the tiered seating and the underground portion of the arena where you can still see evidence of the labyrinth of corridors which would have been hidden by the stage; where fighters and animals were kept until such time that they were due to perform, when they would be propelled up onto the stage by an elaborate (for the time) lift contraption and through a trapdoor.

Read some interesting facts about animal fights in the Colosseum.

After the tour we were free to wander around at will, looking at some of the permanent exhibitions and just feeling the sheer size of the space, marveling at the construction (it’s so symmetrical! And so well preserved!) And obviously taking all of the photos!

Me at the colosseum

After leaving the Colosseum, we headed across the cobbled courtyard to the entrance to the Forum and Palatine Hill, which is included in the costs of the standard Colosseum entry ticket. The ticket is valid for 2 days, so you could do one attraction on one day and the other the next, which is very useful if you’re pushed for time. It also represents really good value with everything you get to see for one price.

The Forum was the centre of ancient Rome, originally a marketplace and now surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government ruins. Shrines and temples, columns, both intact and in pieces, carved stone – it’s amazing to see the layout of the area still as it once was, even after all these years.

These doors are 2000 years old, and the lock still works! (that blew my mind)

2000 year old doors Roman Forum

The Arch of Titus was commissioned by Emperor Titian, in memory of his brother.

I wonder what this says?

Carvings on roman ruins

Upon leaving I took even more photos of the Colosseum because, honestly, it was just breathtaking and just incredible to see.

What a way to spend a birthday!

Did you see my previous posts, about my first day and second day?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x


Let’s have a (New) Look at sandals

All this sunny weather and feet prettifying is making me think about sandals (although do note, good people of Birmingham and beyond, that just because the sun shines it IS NOT summer, and the unusual yellow thing in the sky does not mean you should be wearing shorts and vests. Be patient, your time will come).

New Look seem to be quickest off the block of my usual suspects, with a veritable smorgasboard of sandal action.

Starting with animal print (because that’s always a good place to start), these are £24.99 each. Now I already have both zebra and leopard sandals, but they are looking a little tired, hmm…. Personally I wouldn’t pay that price for sandals (because I’m a cheapskate) but NL often have a discount code knocking around.

New Look zebra £24.99New Look leopard £24.99

Fringed, at £27.99 each – the lighter ones are spoilt (for me) by the colour of the studs

New look brown fringed - £27.99 New look black leather fringed - £27.99

These probably aren’t for every day (but then again, why not) and perhaps a bit too dainty for me, but they’re very pretty, especially the coral, at a more palletable £17.99 each.

New Look gem embellised £17.99 New Look gem 3 - £17.99 New Look gem 2 - £17.99

Again slightly dressier, trimmed with pearls, £22.99.

New look pearl £22.99

I like the hippy vibe of these; I’d probably go for the white and bright coloured ones, £24.99 each.

New Look 2 £24.99 New Look £24.99

Again very dainty, and probably not offering a lot of support, but a great price of £12.99 (leather too) and I love these colours (they also come in gold, white and pale tan).

New Look Leather plaited 3 - £12.99 New Look Leather plaited - £12.99 New Look Leather plaited 2 - £12.99

I’d be all over these, if only the trim was silver instead of gold (£24.99)

New look disk sandalds - £24.99

And finishing with my probably favourites, as I’m a fan of a more substantial chunky sandal to wear with summer dresses, and especially ankle detail.

These hippie beauties, at £34.99, cough splutter.

New look cuff - £34.99

Lace up, £22.99, offering slightly more coverage for less sunny days.

New Look lace up - £22.99

T-bar ankle strap, £15.99

New Look black t-bar £15.99

Roman gladiator, with leg laces, £22.99

New Look Black leather caged £22.99 New Look Black leather caged 2 £22.99

Traditional gladiator style with added suede tassel detail (the perfect match for my suede bag), AND silver hardware, hurrah! £29.99

New look suede tassel - £29.99

It’s slightly too early to be buying any yet, not knowing what my other fave stores will come up with, but I can definitely see the last pair as part of my summer wardrobe (and I’ve just remembered a New Look gift card I have, yay!)