Our first day in Rome started as our 12-hour flight from the US landed at 8:15 in the morning. We had all tried our best to get a good night sleep on the flight but the best we could hope for was about 3-5 hours each. Regardless, we marched on….
After taking the train from the airport into center city and then a taxi to our hotel, we checked in, stored our luggage and headed out for the two venues we had mapped out that we wanted to see on Day 1: The Coliseum and the Basilica San Clemente.
The Coliseum was a no brainer, it was a massive piece of history that stood about 4 blocks from our hotel. We were blown away by its size and grandeur (not to mention the crazy men dressed as gladiators standing in front of it). We took some great pics of the outside, but the multiple hour long lines to get into the Coliseum and our lack of sleep for the last 24 hours, lead us to move on to lunch. Our hotel rooms wouldn’t be ready until 2 PM, so we had no choice, but to keep moving.
It was time for venue #2, the Basilica San Clemente.
I first read about this Basilica when I was reading Mark Batterson’s book, Primal. In the opening chapter of this book, he describes a historic basilica with catacombs that has layers of history underneath it. Essentially, three buildings one on top of another.
In the late 1800s, archeologists discovered remains of an older basilica underneath the present building. They started digging and kept digging until they also discovered the ruins of a 1st century home underneath that. Today for 5 euros, you can see (and practically touch) ancient frescoes and columns that were once a part of that old church as well and pagan worship altars and an active spring that were once a part of the first century home. It was amazing to see such ancient history up close.
Our evening ended with dinner at Pasquale’s restaurant and with the girls returning home to rest while the adults watched the sun set and the full moon rise at the Coliseum and later on the rooftop of our hotel.
The internet connections here in Rome are not great, but I hope to update you on Rome: Day 2 as we fly to Tel Aviv tomorrow.