Today was our first full day in Rome and the longest day of our trip. We left at 8:30am and didn't return until 11pm. After a fifteen minute walk to the Roman Forum, we toured the Palatine Hill and then the forum below with Francesca, our tour guide. It is quite hard to tour the entire forum in just three hours. I was surprised by house much work has been done in it in the past seven years. New parts were open and many more unfortunately were closed. This means, however, that these sites will eventually be opened in better condition and with new discoveries. This is what I choose to believe anyways. The forum was crowded and it rained for a few hours. Nonetheless the students seemed to have a good time. JP and Jacob presented on the Curia and Mamerrune Prison, respectively. Then the group tours the Colosseum where Joshua presented and shared with us a cartoon he had drawn which covered the highlights of his talk.
To the east of the Colosseum we looked for a long respite at separate restaurants. Mrs. Streed, Mr. Arndt and I chose an Irish Pub. It turned out to be an inspired choice. Albums of Neil Young, The Doors, and Aerosmith provided the perfect background to our chaperone bonding time. This was our first time away from all students and I think we appreciated the bizaar fusion of Italian, Irish, and American culture not to mention the BBC's coverage of the Lufthansa crash. We walked to the Capitoline Hill in a downpour with a heavy wind in our faces. Along the way we visited the Carcer Mamerrinus, the prison in the Roman Forum where many famous prisoners of war stayed. This used to be a free site, but now is cost 6 euros a piece, which I covered, and has become more like a miniature museum as it has been privatized.
Students loved the Capitoline Museum. They enjoyed the hall of the emperors, the Dying Gaul, the Capiroline Wolf, and the view of the forum to name a few highlights.
After a little time in the cafe, we walked to the Bocca Della Verita, the Temple of Hercules, and the Temple of Portunus, all found in what was the forum Boarium where Hercules originally brought the cattle of Geryon. Then on to the Pantheon we went. Dokken and Katie presented and students had time to walk inside and then shop along nearby streets.
After that we had our best dinner in Rome in my humble opinion at Trattoria Der Pallaro, a restaurant I have visited many times. The hostess held me and kissed me on the cheek for a full minute. Needless to say, she remembered me from my many prior visits. Then we compared the gelato at two of the best gellaterias in Rome, Della Palma and Giolittis. Della Palma boasts 150 flavors and they are all good. Giolittis has amazing sorbet flavors of gelato. I recommend limone e fragola (lemon and strawberry). We spent a long, eventful day visiting ancient Roman sites and enjoying the gustatory pleasures of Italy.