Olive Pigs - a hungry Italian adventure 🇮🇹

The Colosseum

Olive Pigs - a hungry Italian adventure 🇮🇹

As our 134,864-step (and counting) journey through the (oh so many) historical sites of Rome draws to a close, we saved the most famous for last.

The Colosseum is unceremoniously plonked by the side of a chaotic main road. Cars dip, dodge, and dive past each other, their occupants shouting “Idiotsa!” out their windows. Fists are shaken, middle fingers are raised. All the while, a celebrated piece of history looms behind them. It’s like the gladiator fights have spilled onto the tarmac.

Even after the (oh so many) historical sites we’ve visited, there’s still something about the Colosseum that makes it stand out from the rest. Sure, it’s not the biggest historical site in the city - that’s reserved for the hilariously garish (and amazingly camp) Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, a.k.a. the Typewriter - a huge mausoleum “the father of Italy” built for himself (Every Roman hates it for its pomposity).

The Colosseum is different. It wasn’t built solely for the ego of one man - it was for the bloodlust of many. As you walk through the giant stone arches onto the main battleground, you feel tiny. You’re completely surrounded by the stands where 80,000 spectators would have been screaming for your head. That’s what makes the place so palpable - it doesn’t take much to imagine the terror of those unlucky enough to fight for their lives.

Fury still resides between the ancient walls. Only this time it’s not bloodthirsty warriors who are battling it out, but irate tourists slowly turning the shade of lobster under the midday sun.

There’s an area on the second floor that offers a picturesque view of the amphitheater and the underground tunnels. An orderly queue leads to the viewpoint, which 99% of people respect. Of course, there are always a few who think they’re more deserving. They’d try to sneak around the front of the 30-person line and snap a photo. Little did they know about the fire and fury that was about to be unleashed on them by a Spanish woman waiting for her turn. This tiny woman became the de facto police officer. If you dared to break her laws, your punishment was swift.

“There’s a line!” she’d yell. Some people tried to pretend they didn’t hear her so she switched to Italian and Spanish. She even physically blocked someone from taking a photo. As a people-pleasing, awkward Brit, it was as thrilling as it gets - look at her, standing up for her fellow citizens in the queue! Eventually her aggressive enforcement led to a fight with a self-entitled American woman. It got heated but the American was quietly hissed away by the rest of the crowd. Victory! All hail the new empress of Rome (I’d vote for her).

Maybe we as a society don’t want to watch blood sports anymore, but we still enjoy watching a good battle.

P.S. the above photo is from that very viewpoint. The Spanish woman was very lovely to us and took our photo. The only problem being she was so short you can barely see the view! (See photo above).