Our first day began following the 'Emperor's Footsteps' walking tour in our Lonely Planet Guidebook. Walking towards the starting point of the Colosseum is pretty surreal and provided some excellent photo opportunities. We arrived at the Colosseum around 9.30am and already there was a big queue for tickets (around 45 mins) but we took the time to read up on Colosseum and Gladiator facts. We should have bought them online previously but didn't realise quite how busy it would be, considering it was mid-February.
Once we were inside the Colosseum it was really busy, but it was amazing! It was definitely a highlight of the trip. I loved learning about the Gladiators, it was hard to believe this amazing building has been around since 80AD!
The tour continued past the Arc de Constantino and up to the Palatino (Palatine Hill) which is covered in ruins from the Emperors Palace. It is mind-blowing how much has remained after so many years and feels surreal to walk amongst it. From the Palatino we headed down to the Roman Forum where we walked through all the ruins and read lots of interesting facts - I particularly enjoyed learning about the vestal virgins.
Our tour continued to the Piazza del Campidoglio designed by Michel-angelo and down to Il Vittoriano. You can go inside this and up to the first platform on the roof for free. You can pay to go up the glass elevator all the way to the top but we got fairly good views from the first level. After all this sight-seeing it was definitely time for lunch and the nearby Terre e Domus provided the perfect respite!
Post lunch, we walked past the Bocca della Verita - A giant marble face which if you put your hand in its mouth and tell a lie, legend says it's mouth will shut and bite your hand off. But even I wasn't crazy enough to wait in the queue. So we went in search of one of Rome's ''secret locations'' a keyhole with a view from the Knight of Malta gate up Aventine Hill... it was a beautiful, quiet spot of Rome and well worth it for one of the best views of St Peter's!
Our afternoon continued with the Piazza's walking tour from the Lonely Planet Guide, starting at the cat sanctuary (lucky cats get to live amongst Roman ruins) and Largo di Torre Argentine where Julius Caesar was assassinated. On to the Piazza della Minerva, Rotonda and Navona making sure to try some suppli (risotto balls) at Supplizio. It was great for getting a feel for the atmosphere of Rome and we stopped for coffee and ended drinking red wine on the terrace of a traditional wine bar.
Once evening fell we paid a visit to the Trevi Fountain, it's amazing! Bigger then I expected but on a really small square. We threw our obligatory cents in over our shoulder and sat on the side a while to people watch and enjoy the experience. We had a lovely evening meal at the nearby Il Chianti restaurant that was really pretty from the outside and served delicious Italian food.