Date: Sunday, August 3, 1958
Place: Rome, Italy
Weather: Hot – 104° in the shade
Woke up with that darn ear-ache still – I think maybe it’s caused from my wisdom tooth. Good luck on going to an Italian dentist.
Started out for mass at St. Peter’s at 7:00 A.M. (an eight minute walk) and got there at quarter to eight! The church is simply beautiful – Donna and I went to mass at the side aisle where Pope Pius the 10th is buried.
We toured the city all morning first going to the Pantheon with a round-open hole in the ceiling, and then back to St. Peter’s. We read in the paper that this is the worst heat wave Italy has had in years! At 3:00 we went to the Basilica of St. Pauls Outside the Walls. Also very beautiful – contains portraits of all the Popes starting with Peter. The catacombs (bought slides for $1.61) were very interesting, even saw someone’s old bones, and then on to the Colisseum and the Roman Forum where everyone was more interested in some baby kittens than the ruins.
Judy S., Sue, Jan, Marge, and I couldn’t stand the horrible food at the Pension so we went around the corner for some Italian Pizza (48 cents). Very good in spite of the fact that the waiter put peppers on it instead of pepperoni! We went to the Baths of Caracalla for some light opera ($2.08), and believe it or not I still fit into my size 9 Mr. Mort that I’ve been saving for Italy. Also there was a breeze and we nearly froze to death.
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy is the largest amphitheater in the world. Construction began in 72 AD under Emperor Vespasian, founder of the Flavian Dynasty, and lasted until 80 AD. The amphitheater could accommodate more than 50,000 people.
The Colosseum was used for a number of different functions, including gladiatorial fights, animal hunts, mock sea battles, dramatic performances, and public executions. Events often had a religious aspect to them, but they also were a way for emperors to demonstrate their power and wealth.
Sadly, nearly two-thirds of the Colosseum suffered damage due to neglect, fire, and earthquakes. In addition, stones were stolen from the site to be reused in other buildings (including St. Peter’s Basilica). In 1749, use of the amphitheater as a quarry was forbidden by Pope Benedict XIV who declared the site as sacred due to the early Christians who had been martyred there.