From here, we headed over to the Palatine Hill area, learning about the origins of Rome and some of its fabulous history. Lots of ruins here that would not have made any sense to me without a guide. He really made those bits of stone and brick come to life. After this, it was over to the Roman Forum, where we saw more extensive ruins, and also some restoration work going on. There were several archeological digs going on, so a few areas were off limits, but we still got a lot of information on exactly what it was we were seeing.....and what we might have been looking at were we here a few thousand years earlier. There are still some temples that are used today as churches. My most favorite story was the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina--originally the Temple of Faustina, built by her husband the emperor when she died and was deified. When HE died twenty years later, his successor, Marcus Aurelius didn't want to be bothered making another temple....so he had Antoninus's name added on to this existing one. How tacky.
This temple's columns have deep groove marks near the top, when medieval people tried to tear them down. At that time, the temple was half buried underground, and they were not able to pull down those massive slabs of marble. So, they decided that this must be a holy place, and converted the pagan temple into a church.
The colosseum as seen through the Arch of Titus
The ancient Appian Way