Robin's Adventures

Adventures in the Mediterranean and Middle East
Running through Ruins

Cappuccini Crypt

The Cappuccini Crypt, which is located below the Church of Santa Maria, contains six rooms with unique displays of the remains of nearly 4,000 Capuchin monks who died between 1528 and 1870.

The motif of each room focuses on different bones, such as skulls, pelvises, or leg and thigh bones. As new monks in the order passed on, they were buried, without a coffin, and the monk who had been in the ground the longest was exhumed so his bones could be added to the display.


The Colosseum, which was completed in 80 AD, is the largest amphitheater ever built. It is elliptical in shape and measures 615 feet long and 510 feet wide. The outer wall, which is 157 feet tall, used over 3.5 million cubic feet of travertine stone that was put together with iron clamps rather than mortar.

More Colosseum

Spectator capacity in the Colosseum was between 50,000 and 80,000 people and tickets were pottery shards which contained the section, row, and seat number.

There were 80 entrances and many passageways called vomitoria, from the Latin word for rapid discharge. The large number of doors and passage ways ensured that the crowd could be easily dispersed at the conclusion of an event.

Still More Colosseum

The shows at the Colosseum included gladiator battles, prisoner executions, and exhibitions of exotic animals. Some of the animals, many of which were imported from Africa, included lions, panthers, bears, leopards, tigers, hippos, crocodiles, rhinos, elephants, and giraffes.

The arena had a wooden floor covered by sand. Beneath the floor was an intricate structure with tunnels and cages where the animals and the gladiators were held before each event.

When in Rome

When in Rome, there are monuments everywhere that capture your attention. On a hilltop near the Colosseum we noticed the Temple of Venus and Roma which was designed by the emperor Hadrian and finished in 141 AD.

Hadrian's favorite architect made an unkind remark about the emperor's design saying the statues were so large that they would hurt their heads if they stood up from their thrones. The architect was banished and then executed as a result of his comments.

We also saw Rome's largest triumphal arch, the Arch of Constantine. This 69 foot tall arch was built by the Roman Senate in 315 AD. The arch has many beautiful friezes and relief panels.


The Roman Forum is a large plaza which contains the ruins of many of ancient Rome's important government buildings, shrines, temples, and a royal residence. This was an important meeting and gathering place in ancient Rome. The Roman Senate was here as were judicial offices. The grave of Julius Caesar is also among the ruins.

More Forum

By the 13th century, the area of the Roman Forum was referred to as the Campo Vaccino, or Cow Field. The buildings, which had fallen into a sad state of disrepair, were plundered for their stone and marble and the area was used as pasture land. Excavation and restoration did not begin in the area until the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Vatican

The Vatican City, which was established in 1929 and is the official residence of the Pope, is an independent city-state within the city of Rome. The Vatican City includes Saint Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museum. Within the city, the Pope is protected by the colorfully dressed members of the Swiss Guard.

It is interesting to note that in the Vatican City more wine per person is consumed than in any other country in the world. According to the California Wine Institute, people in the city average 105 bottles of wine per year.

Saint Peter's Church

Saint Peter's Basilica, which has the distinction of being the largest church in the world, was built between 1506 and 1626. It replaced a previous church that had been built in 4 AD.

Inside Saint Peter's Church

Inside Saint Peter's there is a central dome that is surrounded by many different chapels. In addition, there is an underground chapel that is supposed to be the burial place of Saint Peter. There are also tombs of many Popes and other dignitaries in the church. Everywhere you look inside the church there is lavish decoration which consists of marble, gilding, and some amazing sculptures.