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Being in Roma is like falling in love. All the carefully laid plans and duties just fall away in he presence of the beloved, and there is only this moment.

The Colosseum has never been so clean on the outside - recently scrubbed, it now looks like the white marble that it is. When I first saw it, 60 years ago, and in all the years since, I thought it was grey/black! Even the locals are surprised, many have never seen it so clean in their lives.

The number 116 electric bus has been suppressed, and the 117 has shorter hours, so that may go away, too, at some point. Taxi drivers complain about the former mayor outlawing taxis as well as private cars around the Colosseum, and forbidding all motorized vehicles on the weekends in that area. I told one driver that they should send the new mayor bouquets of flowers to start the taxi ban discussion. The driver shaved €.70 off the fare and would not take a tip, now that we were co-conspirators.

My hotel, knowing that I am gluten-intolerant, brings out special baskets of breakfast treats (for all gluten-free guests). A couple of times now, a gluten-free cheesecake, chocolate raspberry mousse, or chocolate layer cake have shown up on the breakfast table, from the owner's cousin's gluten-free bakery near Cinecitta, packaged so I can put them in my room fridge for later.

EDIT: I remember many years ago meeting the director of archeological sites for the Comune di Roma, and he put me with tours to places that the public can't enter. One day he saw me gazing at the Teatro di Marcello and he asked me if I loved Roma. I nodded yes, I couldn't even speak, and he smiled and made a sweeping gesture with his arm over the archeological zone, and said, "Ma Roma, se ama!" (Roma is to love).

I leave in three days. It will rain, it always does.

Posted by
1081 posts

I was just there last month and I agree, Rome is amazing!

Posted by
1062 posts

Zoe, if at all possible, go to the top of the Victor Emmanual Monument. The view of Rome is amazing from there.

Posted by
682 posts

Love your post, Zoe! I'm heading there this fall and am so eager to see the newly cleaned Colosseum.

Posted by
11613 posts

Yosemite1, I go every trip. There is a very good emigration museum exhibition onsite.

Posted by
635 posts

so eager to see the newly cleaned Colosseum.

It is spectacular. Before/after photos (2009 and 2015) here.

Posted by
518 posts

Thanks for sharing. I didn't even know that there was such an effort going on with regards to cleaning the Colosseum. I last saw it in 2014 and didn't even think about it being dirty or not dirty, one just accepts that that's how it looks. I just went online and saw some of the recent photos post-cleaning and wow, it looks so different now. Truly amazing.

I went in a September and I still found the heat uncomfortable. But we learned to nap in the afternoon and come back out in the evenings. Rome in the evening, the soft warm yellow glow of the streetlights illuminating the buildings and monuments and cobbled streets, wow, an amazing experience.

Posted by
16142 posts

KC, they started the cleaning in 2013 so sections of scaffolding must have been up when you were there the following year. LOL, scaffolding or other types of maintenance equipment all over one thing or another seems to be a fact of life in Rome but keeping all those elderly piles together has got to be a challenge!

It took me, oh, 15 minutes or so to fall desperately in love with Rome. That was 43 years ago, and the love affair continues...with considerable frustration as I've been able to return so infrequently.

No rain in the forecast for Sunday, Zoe!

Posted by
2499 posts

Thanks for the heads up about the Colosseum and its cleaning! This will be thrilling to see it all sparkling clean - I can't wait for my October RS Italy tour, where we end in Rome with 2 nights. Alas, not enough time. So, I booked another RS 7 Days in Rome tour in March of 2017 so I can soak up more of the wonders of Rome.
Hope you do not have any rain.
Judy B

Posted by
524 posts

KC...we were there in September and didn't notice. I do remember the scaffolding. I bet lots of it was already cleaned perhaps, not sure.m I need to go look at my pics.

I agree about the soft yellow glow of the lights illuminating the cobblestones. Walking around was such a treat. I miss it so much!

Posted by
518 posts

Rome is one of those places where if, as RS says, "you're not on the ball" and plan in advance and instead show up at the Colosseum at noon, on a the MIDDLE OF SUMMER, you could have the WORST vacation ever and swear you'll never go again, come back and tell people how terrible Rome is. However, if you do your research, rest early the night before, get up early the next day, and get there in the morning, it could be a completely different experience, even in the Summer, and fall hopelessly in love with Rome.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for the post!
I leave for my first RS tour this weekend. It's the Rome 7 day tour. Wanted to do the tour in October but the airline ticket was much cheaper for this one. Hopfully I can tolerate the heat 😳
Nervous and excited!