Today we decided to go to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum first thing in the morning. We got up, got ready, and took the metro to the colosseum. The metro stopped us off right at the sight, and the first thing that I noticed was that it was packed. There were so many people standing outside around the sight–just masses of crowds.

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I couldn’t believe it was so crowded already. The second thing I noticed was that there were about 100 tour guides trying to collect people for their tours. We said no to all the guides because we had bought a Roma Pass and could get in free + skip the line. We made our way to the Roma Pass line (which was nonexistent), skipping all of the tour groups and individual lines. The Roma Pass was worth it for this alone. People were probably waiting for an hour to get in, and we were able to bypass all of that and go right inside.

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The colosseum was really interesting, and not only because it is an incredible historical site. The inner pathway had exhibits set up with large information panels. We actually learned a lot by just reading the panels and listening to our Rick Steves audio guides.

We made our way around the inside of the colosseum and then decided to head downstairs and outside to the ground floor level. It was such an impressive sight. It was really cool to imagine what events took place at this venue, and also be happy that those events no longer occur.

After enjoying the colosseum, we made our way across the street to the Roman Forum. The forum was a very impressive collection of ruins, but it was almost too large to make much sense of without a guided tour. Our free audio guides helped, but I soon got bored and decided to treat this like a ancient hike. We climbed up to the top of the forum and had an incredible view of the city. Then we made our way down and out of the forum, but not without stopping at the free water fountain to refill our water bottle about 5 times.

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We decided to grab some lunch at a restaurant I found on TripAdvisor. They advertised a 2 course meal for 10 euros and people said it was really good food. We ordered from the 10 euro menu and were presented with so much food we couldn’t finish it all. But the thing was, the food wasn’t that great. Some dishes were sitting in oil, others tasted very bland. It wasn’t terrible, but we got what we paid for.

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We then decided to head to Castle San Angelo for no real reason in particular other than castles are fun. I was really glad we ended up going to this place though because it ended up being my favorite historical site in Rome. It wasn’t very crowded, first of all, which really makes things more enjoyable. Also, the castle had incredible walls–the exterior walls were impressively high, and the inner walls had paintings from ceiling to floors. It was gorgeous. We spent hours walking through this place, and a solid 30 minutes just sitting on the observation deck with 360 degree views of Rome and the Vatican.

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The castle had a small restaurant with tables strategically places under windows lining the outer walls. We stopped for a small snack and drink and enjoyed the view from the castle. It was beautiful.

After this, we walked around the area for a while and just enjoyed the statues, fountains, and buildings that we came across. Eventually we took the bus back to the apartment, and realized that it was so late, all of the cheap pizza places had closed (they’re usually open for lunch and early dinner, but close around 6-8pm). Not only that, but some of the restaurants in our neighborhood had also already closed. We had limited options and decided to try a nearby pasta restaurant that we stumbled upon.

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The food, though a bit pricey, was delicious and very interesting. Shelby got pasta with a creamy lemon sauce and we have no idea what the pasta is called, but it essentially was like eating gigantic spaghetti noodles. Seriously, these things were as thick as a number 2 pencil. I opted for gnocchi in tomato sauce, which was delicious. We also shared skewers of goat, which were served sticking out of half of a tomato in all directions. All in all, today was a fun day, and definitely very interesting.

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