Italy: Roaming in Roma – Travel – NZ Herald

Twenty-eight years ago, a Roman we met in Florence pleaded with us to visit his city. With tears in his eyes and his arms outstretched, he implored: “You musta go to Roma, you musta visit la Città Eterna!”

On that occasion, running low on time and funds we did not go to Rome, but last year my partner and I kept our promise to him.

Five days at the tail-end of four weeks in Croatia and Italy cannot do justice to such a city – but then nor could a lifetime.

Still, it was long enough to become enthralled by the history and architecture, to fall under the spell of the Roman people with their easy charm and enviable style, and inspire a deep longing to return – sealed, of course, by the traditional tossing of a coin into the Trevi Fountain.

Italy: Roaming in Roma – Travel – NZ Herald News via @nzherald

Rome's Trevi Fountain

Rome’s Trevi Fountain

Italy: Spirit of Rome – Travel – NZ Hera

On our recent visit to the Eternal City, we uncover Rome’s gruesome history and its spiritual light.

Standing outside the Colosseum, we could be forgiven for thinking that the Roman Empire has not yet fallen.

Where thousands of spectators once gathered to watch gladiators fight, today my husband and I join hundreds of tourists for gory stories of life and death.

In Emperor Nero’s day, gladiators fought exotic animals including elephants, lions, and giraffes at the Colosseum. We see the pits which housed these animals before battle.

While most gladiators were slaves, the professionals were apparently treated like football stars. Rumour has it that women had to sit far away from the arena to resist throwing themselves at these superstars.

We discover that the dark side of Rome did not end with the fall of the Empire…

Italy: Spirit of Rome – Travel – NZ Herald News via @nzherald

Looking down on the Colosseum, Rome. Photo / Supplied Looking down on the Colosseum, Rome. Photo / Supplied

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