It is unusual not because the fountain is the largest of its kind, but for the rarity that it contained pagan gods, yet its construction was commissioned by the Catholic Church. I thought the church would be itching with iconoclasm, not build it.
|We crossed many centuries and caught up with time through its reflection on the faces of ancient structures. That's our guide leading the way in our time travel!|
Every building, street fixture and countless ruins here all have a name and story. With no handouts or printed map of our exploration, I had a hard time juggling between looking for camera angles with listening to our guide's narration of history and reading whatever English text I can lay eyes on during the track.
Maybe I'm just too kiasu, everything also must record down... 有杀错，没放过！
I think with age, we tend to appreciate where we come from better. Of course I don't come from Rome lah, I'm just saying that I'm more interested in history and culture now than ever before. This difference was observed when I compared what I focused on during my first visit here in 1997 and this trip in 2011.
Then, I was enthusiastic about finding the best angle to have my photo taken in. This trip, I was more keen on the facts and stories. Uh-oh... I'm joining the ancient! Heh. So let's continue our architectural-excavation of Rome's ancient history through the mega-structures, or what's left of them...
|Founded in 1551, the Pontifical Gregorian University is the first university founded by Jesuits priests.|
Do you know that there are more than 20 ethnic calendars still in use in the world today? Just to name a few, they are the Chinese Lunar Calendar, Thai Solar Calendar, Islamic Calender, three Hindu Calendars, etc. Can someone please invent the Benjamin Button Calendar?
|Don't know what's the name of this building but I think it's some sort of freedom monument. We didn't go closer to have a look, just passed by it.|
|The Italian 'white house' is very impressive. Pity I don't know more about it. If you know the name or have info about it, please leave a comment. Thanks!|
The streets of Rome are littered with statues and bas reliefs. One of the more noteworthy one is the brass image of Julius Caesar (100 - 44 BC), a powerful military general who seized control of Rome from his ally later turned foe, Pompey the Great. The Roman Republic vastly expanded its territories during his rule to become the Roman Empire until his assination by statesmen who considered him a dictator.
He may have conquered many lands, but one thing Caesar didn't conquer is our dinner table. Caesar Salad, which many mistakenly attributed to him, was not named after the ruler. Rather, the famous salad took its name after Caesar Cardini, an Italian-born restaurateur who supposedly created the dish in 1924.
|Statue of Augustus, who is the successor of Julius Caesar and considered to be the first emperor of the Roman Empire. Pic on the right is part of the Roman Forum ruin site.|
|Another angle of the Roman Forum site visible from the street leading to its entrance. Caught sight of these striking red poppy flowers growing wildly before entering the ruins. What cheery ambassadors to welcome tourists!|
And now, let’s step into what’s considered the centre of the universe during the pre-renaissance Romanesque period...
Opening Hours : 8:30 am to 1 hour before sunset (check timings here)
Ticket Price : €12.00 (Adult combo) for entrance to Palatine Hill + Roman Forum + Colosseum
As I followed a packaged tour, I don't have the direct experience of purchasing tickets. The ticketing info above was sourced from the web. Entry to Roman Forum used to be free but is now packaged with entrance fees for Palatine Hill and the Colosseum in a 2-day pass.
|What used to be a marshland was drained by the Romans to build a civic centre that became the commercial and social hub with buildings dating as far back as 7th century B.C..|
|Just opposite of where I was pointing at City Hall was a shed. This was where the body of Julius Caesar was cremated. The spot with the flowers is supposed to be where the fire freed his soul.|
|Our tour of Roman Forum ended at this arch. By now, I've given up on trying to remember what the guide was telling us about this structure. All I know is that it is where visitors would exit and head on towards the Colosseum.|
Strangely, I felt invigorated with a sense of being alive.