Monday May 21st
I decided to do the Colosseum and the Forum today, so I left my B&B around 10:30 to catch the 64 bus. I hopped off the bus at the area known as the Sacra which was close to the restaurant from last night. It is a square block of temple ruins that were discovered in the 1920's and built in the second and third centuries BC. It is about ten feet below the current street around it, and there is a cat shelter that takes care of the stray cats that live there. Each time I passed it, I could see about ten cats just lounging or playing around the ruins. I got back on the 64 and took it to Piazza Venezia, which is at the foot of Capitoline Hill. From here I got some more pictures of the Monument Vittorio Emanuele II and then climbed up the steps to the Campidoglio, a square designed by Michelangelo. I took lots of pictures and then rounded the corner to go down the hill towards the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. I filled my water bottle after waiting in line with tons of German tourists and got my first view of the Colosseum! I wandered through the forum at the foot of Palatine Hill for about an hour and finally reached the Colosseum. This area was rife with street hawkers selling sunglasses, hats, purses and other things. I sat near the Arch of Constantine, bought some souvenirs, took a bunch of pictures and had some so-so pizza.
I decided not to go inside the Colosseum until I came back to Rome the next week. Instead, I took the Metro up to the Cipro/Vatican Museums stop. I climbed several sets of stairs and got to the door of the museums at 3:20PM. They stop letting people in around 3:30, so there was really no line at all. I wandered through the Gallery of Maps and came upon the Sistine Chapel. You can take pictures in all of the other rooms, but they are a no-no inside the Chapel. You are also supposed to be quiet, but the guards have a hard time enforcing these rules. After sitting a bit and staring at the ceiling, I moved on through the rest of the museums, seeing lots of old artifacts and a few works of art. After I left the museums, I shopped on via Ottaviano and had some cannolli. I'd been to a small grocery store, so I had a picnic in St Peter's square and went to bed early. Tomorrow I would leave for Florence!