October 20, 2020
It’s October 2020 and It is time for me to return to the Eternal City. I need my Rome Fix. I knew it would be different this year. Come along with me and explore.
As usual, I found a hotel in the Monti district. This time I stayed at a new hotel, the Relais Monti. It is a very nice two-star hotel with modern design, great bed and bathroom and even a mini-frig. As with many hotels in Italy, it begins upstairs on the 1st floor. There is a tiny, slow elevator, and I don’t feel like dragging my suitcase up the stairs. My instincts said, “walk the stairs” but my legs said, “take the elevator.”
I got stuck in the elevator for about 10 minutes. Even an experienced traveler can freak out. I became 100% American and began screaming for help. Once the poor hotel host got downstairs and began working on the elevator, I calmed a bit. I also stayed away from that elevator for the rest of my visit.
After settling down a bit and into my hotel room, I met with Russ from, Carpe Diem Rome.
We chose a new trattoria for dinner, La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali. We begin with an aperitivo of porchetta that we shared.
I follow it up with my favorite Roman meal of Cacio e Pepe. It is fabulous. What’s your favorite Roman dish?
We discussed their business, living in Rome and how they enjoyed Roman history.
He and his friend, Colin, two British men, are the founders of Carpe Diem Rome and people I trust to provide my clients with excellent experiences to fit their passions. They offer small group tours, up to 10 people in most cases for a more personal touch. They have lived in the Eternal City for several years, studied the history of Rome and the Empire, and are very easy to talk with, learn from.
Russ and I shared ideas about how to expand the business in the time of Covid, and how we who work in the Italian travel industry can assist each other. I truly appreciate that. As a travel planner who works mostly with US clientele, I have not had much income in 2020. We all hope Americans will return in 2021 and 2022.
Russ and I plan to meet Colin outside the Colosseum at 1030am the next morning. I was going to experience their tour of the Palantine Hill, the Forum and the Colosseum with Colin. We meet here by the arch of Constantine. Come along with me.
As I walk to meet them, I see this horse and carriage.
There are noticeably fewer people around this very touristy area. We all hope soon this will change. When I meet Colin and the two other travelers, Russ bows out to rest a torn Achille’s heel.
And we go off to the Palantine Hill first.
This is a very different approach to what other tours usually do. As we discover, it is a very smart way to see the area.
There are few people climbing along the Palantine Hill. It is a very peaceful place.
The historical ruins are everywhere. Colin does an excellent job of explaining the uses of each building, each wall.
The newer building in white was Mussolini’s home here and is now a museum. As we walked, Colin showed us two places where we could photograph the Vatican Dome. I would not have found them without his directions. Thank you, Carpe Diem Tours.
Below is a peak at the Colosseum through the ruins and trees.
But the views get better and better as we walk higher and deeper into the area.
I adore the views from above.
Shown in the photo above are ruins turned into Catholic churches and other buildings.
Here we see the combination of ancient and modern.
The arch above was used by Hitler to enter the Forum. It is now closed off and no one can walk beneath its arch.
So much to see on this beautiful, sunny day. There were few people enjoying it with us, however.
Now it is time for us to explore il colosseo, the Colosseum.
We had timed it very well. Most people were already inside of had completed their morning tour.
The sheer size of the Colosseum is overwhelming. And seeing it this empty was odd, yet fortunate.
I was able to capture shots like this one above of where the bishops sat after the Colosseum was turned into a church. This area had been for the Rulers in Roman Times.
The remains of the upper 3 tiers after over 2000 years.
I love how the sun plays with the ancient structure, streaming through the arches.
Notice the crucifix on the lower left of this photo above with more completed coverings above.
From this angle I can almost feel the ancient Romans entering through their arches and getting ready to be entertained by blood battles.
Is this where the lions were held? Or were the gladiators here(photo above)?
Or was it here, below?
The incredible skill and workmanship that went into creating the Colosseum gives credence to the belief that the Romans were more engineers than warriors. They were incredible. And, for me, Colin really helped make it all come alive. We thoroughly enjoyed him.
Thanks to Colin and to Russ of Carpe Diem Rome.
Carpe Diem Rome offers many other tours of places you hope to see in Rome and others you may not even know about.
Here’s a photo the guys shared with me from one tour. There are so many more. Tap anywhere you see Carpe Diem Rome to take you to their website. You can book tours now. Let’s hope 2021 is a year when you can visit the Eternal City and all of Italy. Until next time, Ciao for now.
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