Eddie Pingel ’15 – Our introduction to the city of Rome could not have begun with nicer weather. Although we bused in last night, it was dark by the time we entered the city, and we were unable to view the majority of the monuments and sights that we passed due to the lack of light.
Today, however, our first day to explore the city, brought with it awe-inspiring sights. We exited the hotel at approximately 8:30 this morning, and stepped out into a sunlit alley with nothing but blue skies above. We spent the first part of the day walking around the back streets of Rome looking at various archaeological sites now built over with modern buildings. It was interesting to note that the modern shape and design of these modern buildings is a result of the ancient foundations of earlier monuments that preceded them. We looked at the Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla, which were absolutely astounding in both grandeur and scope. There is no way to prepare for seeing such monuments in person. Of course we have seen them through images on the internet, but there is no way that pictures can come close to doing justice to the astronomical size of these structures.
I thought to myself numerous times throughout the course of the day how unfortunate it was that my camera could not capture the immense scope o the buildings that lay before me. These two sites we saw before lunch. From there, we took public transportation to see the coliseum. This too, was a source of incredulity. We ate pizza in the shadow of the building, after which we crossed the street and entered the coliseum itself. There is not much one can do when experiencing something like the coliseum except silently stare and wonder at the grandeur that lay before you. That’s essentially what we did after hearing a quick lecture from Professor Hartnett about the structure.
We had the opportunity to roam about and explore it for about half and hour, during which point we were able to take picture with one of the most unique backdrops the world has to offer. After leaving the coliseum, we walked to a nearby church, where we are able to go underneath its first level, and view the early 4th century foundations and church that lay below it. When this was done, we split up into two groups, one to view the forum, and the other to view other early Christian churches. I went with this second group and we were able to see three other early churches with splendid artwork. One held the supposed manger of Christ, while another held the flagellation stone that Christ was whipped upon.
Before this, however, we bought tickets for everyone on the trip to a soccer game tomorrow, here in Rome. At this point, we had been on our feet for 10 straight hours, and it was time to call it a day. We then bused back to the hotel, and are soon looking to get something to eat. I look forward to tomorrow when we will travel to Ostia and continue to experience further the incredible sites of ancient and modern Italian society