We had an early morning train ride from Florence to Rome, so we hopped in our ride and made our way to the train station. We felt like we saw and did everything we wanted in the Florence area, and we were excited to move on to something new.
For whatever reason, the travel agency couldn't schedule transfer for us in Rome. So when we arrived, we hopped in a cab to our hotel. It was too early to check in, but we dropped off our bags and got the info on how to take the metro to the Colosseum as we had a tour booked.
Months before the trip, we knew that when it came to some of these famous tourist sites that we wanted to book ours in advance. We did some research and scheduled a walking tour of the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum for our first day in Rome. I am SO glad we did because the lines to get in to these places on your own were nuts.
The metro took us right to the Colosseum... as in, we walked out of the station and there it was! Those first views of something so iconic were really fun.
We had a little time to kill, so we grabbed some quick snacks and hung out for a bit.
There's a new thing that tour companies are doing since the last time I took a trip where there was some kind of tour. You wear a little headset and the tour guide talks into a microphone as you walk along. It's pretty smart albeit a bit cumbersome. Nonetheless, before long we were off to the Roman Forum.
Let me preface all of this by saying that we were in the direct sunlight for the entire 4-hour walking tour. On a HOT day in August. In Rome. We expected this to a degree, but I don't think we were prepared for just how hot we would be. At some points, it made it a little less fun... our tour guide on the bike tour had said something about taking his parents on one of these tours here and how after a while all you hear is "lions... Christian... gladiators." We soon knew what he meant.
At first, everything was interesting. But after a while, I sort of wasn't paying attention to the history. Nonetheless, it was still incredible to see all of these amazing places and imagine what they were like in their glory days!
Our tour ended with the Colosseum portion, and part of why we booked it was because it went to sections that are not open to the general public.
We got to walk out on the main floor as well as go underground to see the parts down there. We also got to go up to the very top. It was incredibly impressive to see how massive this place was, and it's sad to know that it was quarried for marble and that's led to it falling apart.
When the tour wrapped up, we were free to explore the public areas. We wandered a bit, but then we decided we were hot and it was crowded and we felt like we had sufficiently seen it, haha!
We made our way back to our hotel for a shower and a nap! (Seriously... afternoon naps were an important part of our whole trip!)
When we woke up, we decided to ask the hotel concierge for a dinner recommendation. He sent us right around the corner to a little restaurant where we had a tasty dinner (and wine! and cheese! and dessert!). We really took our time and ended up chatting with our waiter. I think as he realized we weren't obnoxious Americans in a rush to get in and get out, he started making jokes.
Heat is draining, and despite the nap we still felt worn out. (And I was sunburned because I didn't think and bring my sunscreen along with me to the Colosseum so I never reapplied.) So we just went back to the hotel and crashed. We knew we had another big day ahead of us at the Vatican along with other sites we wanted to see in Rome!