Mon 2 Jan Intended getting an earlier start today but sleeping in when the apartment is so dark with the shutters closed is too easy. It would be too cold to leave them open, seeing as we can’t figure out the heating. Good thing Rome is much warmer than France and UK – it is much like a Brisbane winter’s day. We heard rain before we left – it had been forecast. During the day it only rained once while we were walking and again while we were inside. We started out by finding a couple of grocery stores and lots of other shops that had been hidden behind shutters with no signs to indicate what was behind. We joined a long ticket queue at the Colosseum and then decided to switch to the line for the audio tour (€5 extra) mainly because we could go in straight away. Turned out that the audio tour only had 6 commentary stops.
Had some sandwiches etc that we had bought at the grocery store and then walked through the Palatine Hill (lots of ups and downs and a huge site) and then the Roman Forum – small by comparison. Next to the Forum exit is the Mamertine Prison – Rome’s prison for several hundred year from BC times. Prisoners here awaited execution. Paul and Peter were both prisoners here. There is now a chapel on top and a later church on top of that. We went inside with a guide.
Bought some groceries, although not a big choice and no prepared convenience foods as we had been used to in London. After dinner we went for a walk to see Christmas lights and the ‘archaeology’ lit up. There were some nativity scenes made entirely of lights and huge strings of green, white and red lights that stretched all the way up the Via Del Corso from the Piazza Venezia to the Piazza del Popolo – several kilometres. When we had walked enough we decided to go and have a look at the river and happened upon the Piazza Navona, where we intended to go the next day. There were Christmas markets, mostly with Disney helium balloons, witches and lollies – not very pretty and obscuring the lovely buildings and fountains.