Emperor Vespasianus commissioned building Rome's biggest amphitheater in 72 A.D. At that time there were 80 entrances and could accomodate 55,000 people. All the beautiful buildings from the Roman Empire. It is fantastic to see what things they already could built more then 2000 years ago.
Imagine you had to built the Colloseum, without help of the tools and machines we have nowadays.
Walking through history
You could seriously overdose on a daily regime of beautiful buildings and crowds in Rome. With a week in the city at our disposal, we decided we'd take a day out, admittedly for more sightseeing, and one of Italy's major ancient sites at that but in a completely different environment - the Bay of Naples and the extraordinary excavations at Herculaneum - the town that was drowned in an horrific river of hot gas, ash and rock that slowly filled the place from the ground up, entombing it in a completely different manner from Pompeii, where ash and debris rained down on the town from above.
Pompeii is justly famous, it's a fascinating site, and receives a constant flood of visitors but Herculaneum, which is actually better preserved and offers a far more complete picture of a Roman town, attracts a trickle in comparison. Certainly the day we were there, the number of fellow-tourists couldn't have been more than thirty or forty in the whole time we were there.
Naples is an hour and a half from Rome by train. To get to Herculaneum takes another 20 minutes via the Circumvesuviana line, getting off at Ercolano Scavi station. From the station it's a 10 minute walk straight down the hill to the site.
The approach to the entrance brings you high above the site and around two sides of it for a wonderful birds-eye view before you even enter. Once you've made your way into the site itself, you really feel you've have stepped back in time as you walk the streets, enter house after house, baths, shops, the forum, the cisterns and more. The way the town was inundated has left buildings in an amazing state - some two stories high, roofs intact, door and structural timbers carbonised, metal window grills still in place.
I'm not even going to try to give more information here - the web-site below will give you a fantastic overview of the site. Hopefully, it, and the bit I've written here, will give you both an idea of the site and the desire to go and see it for yourself.
The excavations are not as extensive as those at Pompeii, you can easily see the whole site in the time at your disposal on a trip from Rome such as ours. Check the Trenitalia timetable here for train times. It's a good idea to buy your train tickets a day or two in advance. You can do this from self-service ticket machines at Termini station.
Fortunately there are several cafes between the station and the scavi - that downhill walk to the site might be a pleasant stroll - uphill on the way back definitely calls for a refreshment stop along the way.
From Rome Fiumicino (aka Leonardo Da Vinci International airport), take the train (aka Leonardo Express) to Roma Termini station. Price 11 euro one way.
We saw little ticket machines - the ones that validate your ticket by punching a hole in it - so we did it just in case. It seems you have to do it - it's written on the back of the ticket - altho how you'd know to look there is beyond me. The ticket is valid for 90mins afterwards. The journey takes about 35-40mins.
Simple and good
Finally I found a honest restaurant in termini station area which is where I usually stay in Rome.
This pizzeria restaurant is nothing special but food is good and prices are honest, which is really something hard to find in that area. Bufala mozzarella was really good.
Just a little more info
By this point, everyone knows the colosseum. Here are a few things you might not know. The colosseum, forum and palatine hill are now on a combo ticket for 12 euros. You get 2 days to see all three sites. If you start at the capitoline hill and continue on through the forum you will end up at the colosseum. As you come toward the end of the forum, there is a path that goes off to the right, up hill. The palatine hill. Approaching the colosseum you will see several things. Vending trucks, people dressed as gladiators, sovenier carts and tour touts. If you want to take a tour, approach a tour tout or allow them to approach you. They are cheap and last about an hour. You don't have to leave the colosseum when the tour is finished, your ticket lets you stay as long as you like. Ignore the gladiators , who charge 5 euros for the privalage of taking their picture (with your camera). As for the vending trucks, they are over priced. They will sell you a soda for 3 euros. That is ONE CAN of coke, 3 EUROS!!!!! Just avoid them. Last is the souvenier carts, one by the entrance, one by the exit. These souveniers are very overpriced, but you can bargain with them. Once you get past the line to get into the colosseum, continue to the end of the main corridor you will see an elevator. Take this to the top for great views. Spend as much time as you like inside. While you're inside, don't forget to look outside. When you decide to leave you will go out the right hand side of the colosseum (if your back is to the forum). If you need to use the restroom, there is one if you head to the left. So just turn left and continue toward the "back" of the colosseum. There is a small building next to the wall, the restroom. It is never crowded and always clean.
The colosseum combo is covered by the romapass. With the romapass you get entrance into the three sites for 2 days and you get to bypass the lines. Just go to the line marked for tours and use your pass. The three sites only count as one site on your romapass.