Sunday, November 30, 2008

Imperial City

Last recovery time after duty as diplomatic escort was four free days in the Imperial City. You know what I mean, that part of the planet were the Emperor resides. Not so off borders as you can think but crowded with people from every corner of the galaxy, even some people from my habitual duty planet. But much more people, far more, from my planet of origin,. They were everywhere and, as usual, impossible to miss as they always talk to each other shouting :D
The first stop after reporting at the local clone trooper post was the Arena, aka Colosseum (Wikipedia). Quite impresive, but also very well known, always have been in pictures, movies...
The guided visit was done by a very funny native who was all the time quoting the word "crazy" as a kind of Mantra to explain everything about the Colosseum and, of course, with several references to the movie  "Gladiator". The actual tour does not allow to visit the underground part of the Arena as seen in the film "Jumper" but it seems to be plans for allowing it in the future.
Nevertheless is interesting to know that the ground of the Arena was hollow, just a wooden floor covered with sand to absorb the blood of the gladiators to avoid accidents due to a slippery floor. This kind of construction allowed the use of the underground area for keeping the slaves, gladiators, animals and other paraphernalia used in the shows. The whole Arena was equipped with a system of hidden holes on the wooden floor for special effects, like lifting up a hungry tiger just to the ground space right on your back. Surprise !
Just in front of the Colosseum is the  Arch of Constantine (Wikipedia), also well known and emblematic. Also there you can find the Roman Forum (Wikipedia), very nice even if it looks only like a pile of stones lying around ;)
From there you can walk down to the Column of Trajan (Wikipedia), present in every history book and kind of monumental history book itself as the whole column is covered with a relief which relates Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars, somewhere in todays Romania, which seems to be the only country in that area which still uses a latin-based language.
The walk along this part of the city can be crowded with more visitors than desired but is still a very nice way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Close to the Column of Trajan there are some small places where it is possible to enjoy a very tasty pizza. But, in general, there is not need to worry about the food, it is usually great :)
Another nice spot of the city is the Piazza di Spagna (Wikipedia), at the bottom of the Spanish Steps which lead the way to the church Trinità dei Monti.
In the surrounding streets it is possible to found some shops, mainly for clothes and complements, but also several nice restaurants and wine bars. The last are specially recommended as the offer on starters or finger food to have with the wine is fantastic.

This was day one. Second day, meeting the Emperor.....

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