After our busy travel day we all got a good night rest in anticipation of an early Sunday morning start to the day beginning with a breakfast of croissants and hot chocolate that was thick enough to cement together our arteries. Delicious!
After a “Good Mormon” joke from Swensen we embarked on our journey for the day.
We first met brother and sister Fenn at the LDS Temple site located about thirty minutes from our hotel. Prior to the commencement of excavation the saints fasted in hopes of not encountering any delays in construction caused by coming across any ancient ruins. Their prayers were answered and the temple is making good progress with an expected completion date in late 2014.
Listening to our classmates try to sing hymns in Italian during sacrament meeting was almost the most enjoyable experience of the day. But it was trumped by the visit to the sites of Ancient Rome that afternoon.
We were all excited to meet the gladiators who still guard the coliseum. Or maybe they were just there for photo opportunities. It was difficult to tell. But We learned of all the creative and cruel ways the Romans entertained themselves. Outside of the slaughtering of many Christians in the public arena, they used special effects to add excitement to the gladiatorial events with trap doors that would release ferocious animals. In the end one could ask for mercy. But it was up to the spectators to determine their fate. If the gladiator provided good entertainment, he may be allowed to live. But maybe not. This would have been a good time to hope you had a lot of friends.
Our final group site visit for the day was the forum, the center of Rome’s political dominance. The ruins of temples, palaces, and other edifices each tell its own story after two millennia. We walked the path of Julius Caesar on that fateful day in march and stood in front of the temple where he was later cremated and thought to have become a god. Those superstitious Romans.
After a long day most of our classmates went right to bed. Actually, no, we went for gelato and a delicious Italian meal. And then of course….more gelato. We loved Rome and we loved gelato.