Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scenes from Rome

Rome could thrill you, impress you with its rich history, while depress you with its scenes of poverty, graffiti and frenetic pace. We didn't realise the serenity that we would experience in Tuscany, but that was still a few days ahead of us.

Andrew I decide we needed some exercise, so a run thru the streets of Rome was in order.
Many huge monuments of ancient Roman times make you gasp, but this was a memorial to some local person. A family member possibly, but no less important to those of history.
My son Andrew and I ventured out for a run through the streets of Rome and as we left the apartment, there was an old man collecting discarded fruit and vegetables from the bins of the morning market. His take home basket was probably no less impressive as our own and a lot cheaper.
Our run took us up towards the Colosseum and along the Tiber where we came across more homeless people. It was unnerving to see the poverty of Rome, not something that we often see at home. It is there but we don't often see ourselves amongst it as we did in Rome. As we ran up towards the Colosseum we saw people dressed as Gladiators being photographed with Tourists willing pass over a few euros for the privilege.
The Gladiators would take turns of being photographed while the other would take the opportunity for a "smoko". Not sure if the Romans had a "ciggie" in those days.

The Ponte Fabricio built in 62 BC is still in use today.

The run took us to the oldest still used bridge across the Tiber.

While the remains of an earlier bridge stands in its shadows.

But below were some homeless that had taken up residence with their dogs.
Yes, we saw some sad scenes during our run but the most impressive scene to me was one that you couldn't see but had to visualise. The Circus Maximus was the scene of chariot races and I had read about it before we left Melbourne. I needed to see it.
No more than a a parkland these days, I sat there for some time while imagining the races that took part there. From 400 BC to 549 AD when the last chariots raced, it was the largest spectator arena holding up to 500,000 people.
This grassy area seems not to be held in awe by the locals as there was rubbish and the remains of small fires littering this famous location.

Circus Maximus - Today!

The Circus Maximus then.

Our run then took us further along the Tiber towards the Vatican and back to the Campo and a cool beer.

We would return to the Vatican and the museum with Sue but on our run we passed by Piazza San Pietro on our return to the Campo de Fiori.

But of the many scenes of Rome, I think the Fiat Bambino and the Vespa say it all for me!!

Our afternoon run offered us scenes of Rome that we may not have experienced on a tourist bus or guided tour. It was an experience of mixed emotions. One one hand you see fashion conscious women walking in high heels on the cobble stoned piazza while the homeless sleep under bridges of the polluted Tiber. Such extremes, such contrast but such memories running through the streets with my son. I'm sure in many years to come we will discuss that run.


  1. I did not realise there was such poverty in Rome. I know what you mean by how much you see out for a run. I have noticed this when cycling routes I drive regularly. I see all sorts of things I did not existed. Diane

  2. Diane - after 4 years since that visit, I'm still effected by the scenes of Rome and one part of me wants to return while the other couldn't care a toss, but I'm glad we experienced her.
    I guess Rome is a bit like that.


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