The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was constructed under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir Titus. The site on which it sits was once a lake and part of the enormous palace emperor Nero had built for himself. Vespasian returned the lush land near the center of the city to the Roman people with the construction of a new amphitheater where the public could enjoy gladiatorial combats and other forms of entertainment. Construction was funded by the opulent spoils taken from the Jewish Temple after the Great Jewish Revolt in 70 AD led to the Siege of Jerusalem. Along with the spoils, estimated 100,000 Jewish prisoners were brought back to Rome after the war, and many contributed to the massive workforce needed for construction. The Colosseum could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators having an average audience of some 65,000; it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

The Palatine is the most famous of Rome’s seven hills. In Ancient Rome it was considered one of the most desirable neighborhood in the city, and was the home of aristocrats and emperors. It was also believed to be the location of the Lupercal (the cave where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf). During the Republican era, many wealthy Romans lived in luxurious villas on the Palatine. The hill later became home to Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, as well as Tiberius and Domitian.

Standing where the emperor once stood.

The original tile of the dining room

The Roman Forum was the marketplace of Rome and also the business district and civic centre. The most ancient monuments at the Roman Forum are from the first kings of Rome, dating back to the sixth century BC. Monuments and basilicas followed regularly with emperors trying to outdo their predecessors, the last being added around 600AD.

In 44 BC. two supremely dramatic events were witnessed by the Forum, perhaps the most famous ever to transpire there: Marc Antony’s funeral oration for Caesar was delivered from the partially completed speaker’s platform known as the New Rostra and the public burning of Caesar’s body occurred on a site directly across from the Rostra around which the Temple to the Deified Caesar was subsequently built.

Temple to the Deified Caesar

Marissa, our tour guide for two days, equally enjoyed our kids as they did her.

Piazza Navona is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century AD where the ancient Romans went to watch the agones (“games”). 

In the center sits Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) which was designed in 1651 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Innocent X. The fountain depicts the four river Gods; Ganges, Nile, Danube and Rio de la Plata. 

Built against the backdrop of Palazzo Poli, the Trevi Fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi and constructed in 1762. The site dates back to 19 BC and was the end point of the Acqua Virgo aqueduct, providing clean drinking water to the residents of Rome. The narrow streets leading up to the square and the sheer size of the fountain – 85 feet high and 160 feet wide – make the setting seem almost incongruous for a monument of this magnitude. It also creates a bottleneck of tourists.

The 47Hotel is a hotel situated halfway between the Circus Maximum and Piazza Venezia, in central Rome. The rooftop provided us a great spot to enjoy food and relax and fantastic views of the Temple of Vesta and other archaeological sites.