Continuing with the walk around Rome's historic centre we made our way from the Quirinal area to the Forums. The Via dei Fori Imperiali is a long one with Roman ruins on either side of this main street and the Colosseum looms large at the end of it.
The above photo was taken a few years ago and it has reminded me that work on the Colosseum to stabilise this most famous buildings of Rome's Imperial past has been going on for many years. At the moment there's a major construction work taking place in the Metro near the Colosseum and some areas of the main Forum are closed for repairs to some of the monuments. I noticed metal bands had been clamped around columns in the Forum presumably to strengthen them. On the right as you walk towards the Colosseum there's a high fence surrounding the building site. However, a visitor can take a tour and the ticket can be purchased and used to enter both sites.
The Colosseum was commissioned by the Emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and it's an amazing building
because of its design and engineering features. Eighty arched entrances allowed easy access to 55,000 spectators who came to the amphitheatre. It was built in the form of an ellipse with tiers of seats around the arena that had a wooden floor covered in sand. The 19th century excavations exposed the network of underground passages and rooms.
Above is a view of the walk leading up into the Imperial Forum with the Arch of Titus and colonnades of a temple built in AD 121 by the Emperor Hadrian (The Temple of Venus and Rome) and behind that is the church of Santa Francesca Romana. In the 15th century Francesca cared for the city's poor and after her canonisation this ancient church, originally called Santa Maria Nova, was renamed.
The Arch of Constantine is next to the Colosseum.
This triumphal arch was built to mark the victory of Emperor Constantine over his co-emperor Maxentius. Some of the statues and reliefs that decorate this huge construction were taken from Trajan's Forum. These were probably by the artist who worked on Trajan's Column at the other end of Via dei Fori Imperiali.
It would be tempting to take a ride along the road from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia, but there's plenty to see on foot.
Reliefs on the Temple of Minerva in the Forum of Nerva. A frieze of young girls shows some learning to sew and weave. Excavations have been going on for some time and Renaissance shops and taverns have been found.
The Forum of Augustus can be viewed from wooden platforms with seating along this stretch of the road. It's a good place to take a rest and appreciate what has been uncovered during the excavations of the site.
The Trajan Markets
There's a complete set of casts of the scenes that are depicted in relief on the column in one of the Museums of Roman Antiquity.
Small windows can be seen as there's a spiral staircase inside the column although this is not usually open to the public.
On the other side of Via Fori Imperiali is the Forum of Julius Caesar.
The church on the left of the photo with the pink walls is San Giuseppe dei Falegnami (St. Joseph of the Carpenters). Underneath the church visitors can go down into a dungeon which was part of the Mamertine Prison also known as the Tullianum. This was an old cistern with access to the city's main sewer. I visited the church many years ago as the dungeon is the cell where St. Peter was imprisoned according to Christian tradition. The two chains (vincoli) that were used to shackle him, again according to legend, were taken to Constantinople. In the 5th century the Empress Eudoxia had one placed in a church in Constantinople and the other was sent to her daughter in Rome. The daughter gave them to Pope Leo who built the church of San Pietro in Vincoli to house it. Later the other chain was returned to Rome and both chains can be seen together below the high altar of this church. I will continue with our walk from Piazza Venezia to Piazza della Rotonda where we visited the Pantheon another time.
I'm thinking of all those whose homes and business premises have been damaged due to unprecedented heavy rainfall which led to flooding in Cumbria and elsewhere over the weekend. My sister-in-law phoned from Italy as the news must have been featured on the national news and the family were anxious to know if we were well. Thankfully we are fine, but we feel sorry for those who are not. Communities and the search and rescue services work together at such times, but it's a distressing time nevertheless for those who have been affected and are homeless once again.