Rome: 6.21.2007

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Lofty sightseeing goals meet us this morning.
Take the Metro to Saint Peter’s Basilica (San Pietro) once again
in hopes of gaining entry to the famous domed ceiling of the basilica
as well as the Sistine Chapel
then reality slaps us in the face:
lines wrap around the complex in all directions and our situation is hopeless.
 

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(Image Source: Internet)

The disaster of a queue at San Pietro is not on the menu for today.

Back to the Metro, we ride to the center of the city.

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Swarms of visitors flock around the most famous sight in Rome:

 

When opened in 80 AD, the festivities lasted for 100 days

and included death matches with rare animals and even sea battles!

 

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luxurious dwellings of the Roman upper class overlook the Forum.

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Sprinklers are a relief in the relentless heat.
Hair already dry, the sweat pours as we enter the ongoing excavation area
of the ruins of the largest forum in Rome, the Roman Forum (Forum Magnum).
Historically used as an area for commerce,
this forum later became an epicenter for religion, philosophy, and politics.

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View of the Forum looking west.

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A team of women excavate and record ruins
near the House of the Vestal Virgins and the Temple of Vesta.

 

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The end of the sun scorched plain is in sight at the base of Capitoline Hill,

once the political center of the city, and home to the Arch of Septimius Severus.

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Three columns at the Temple of Castor

and the ruins of the Imperial Palace on Palatine Hill.

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A last look at the Temple of Saturn
in the most crowded deserted place in the world.

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IMG_3728     IMG_3736 Seen from all over Rome, we finally approach the Altare della Patria,

built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy.

Completed in 1935, the structure also frames the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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A giant among Italian military police vehicles…

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The Temple of Hercules Victor, the oldest surviving marble edifice, dates from 120 BC.

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Walking further on, a grassy park opens in front of us

that was once the infamous racing track, The Circus Maximus.

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circus maximus

(Reconstruction Image Source: Internet)

Overhead view of Circus Maximus and the Imperial Palace on Palatine Hill.

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Yet another casualty of the heat…!

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IMG_3846 An interesting end to a long hot day: The Pyramid of Cestius.

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The last remaining of as many as four pyramids in the city,

it was erected in 330 days around 18 BC.

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Sun getting low, after a grocery store stop for another evening self-catered dinner,

we catch a free train ride back to the hotel

and some rest before our last day in Rome and traveling on to Athens.

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