When In Rome…Day 2: Gladiators & Pizza (Visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum)

Colosseum Rome
Visiting the Colosseum
When in Rome, I’m led to believe that it’s pretty standard to pay a visit to the Colosseum. It’s something that I wanted to do when I first heard about the gladiators when being taught Roman history at school. There’s something so fascinating, and pretty macabre, about the history of such a huge building. Did you know that the Roman Colosseum was built in 70AD? I can’t even get my head around how long ago that was.
We arrived at around 10:30am in the morning on the second day of our trip. It was absolutely crawling with tourists, but due to pre-booking our tickets, we managed to gleefully skip the huge line that was forming next to our much smaller and faster one. Result.
Upon entering the Colosseum, it’s a bit chaotic making sure you’re in the right place to pick up your reserved tickets, and in our case we also picked up audio guides. With a flurry of other tourists that didn’t really get┬áthe concept of a queue, it was enough to drive a Brit insane. Still, it didn’t take us too long to get started on our exploration.
Opting for the audio guide was a mistake really – it focussed a lot on the restoration of the amphitheatre and not a lot on the “interesting” stuff, aka the gladiators and what it was really like as both participator and spectator of the arena.
The restoration is still very interesting from an architectural perspective (it’s pretty darn amazing how much of the building has survived all this time), but we admittedly gave up with the audio guide after a little while and instead opted to just nose around. We did see and hear some pretty interesting walking tours in the process, so I imagine those are definitely worth the extra euros.
As part of our ticket, we also had access to the Roman Forum, a plaza of ruins that were once important buildings for all sorts of interesting stuff – from trials to public speeches, as well as even more gladiatorial events. Below is the amazing Arch of Titus – my photo only goes a small fraction to showing the stunning carvings underneath the arch.
Arch of Titus, Roman Forum
Underneath carvings on Arch of Titus
Headless statue at Roman Forum
Roman Forum gardens
After several hours on our feet absorbing the ancient ruins and doing our best to avoid being sold cheap selfie sticks and scarves, it was time to grab some lunch. The Trip Advisor app was an absolute triumph in recommending Naumachia, a small Roman/Tuscan restaurant which served us the best meal of our trip.
Naumachia cured meat sharer
We started with this crazy delicious cured meats platter. A particular highlight was the wild boar, which had a slightly tough texture but incredible taste. I kind of wish I’d just ordered it for myself instead of sharing with Liam…
Naumachia restaurant bread and oil, Rome, Italy
One of my favourite things to do when eating at an Italian restaurant is to eat all of the bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar – and I’ll tell you what, the real deal is even better. I think I could live off of Italian bread, legit.
Marinara cheeseless pizza from Rome
We both ordered pizzas for our mains – Liam had a classic Margherita (it’s surprising the lack of topping choices there are in Rome), and I went for the Marinara, a garlicky cheese-less pizza which tasted awesome.

If you do ever visit the Colosseum, you have to check out this restaurant. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the Colosseum, and the service is fab. Be warned though: as soon as we walked out we got approached by a man thrusting jewellery at us trying to get us to buy it. Still, you can expect this sort of thing anywhere touristy!

Next time I’ll be sharing what we got up to on day three when we visited the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. In the meantime, if you missed out on Day 1 and our trip to the Baths of Caracalla, you can read about it here.

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