Halfway along Via dei Fori Imperiali I spotted a tourist information office. I decided to detour partly for information, mainly for the air conditioning. Then we headed to the Forum. There were two people in front of us at the ticket window. When we reached it we discovered we could buy a ticket which would give us entry to both the forum and the Colosseum. That's definitely the way to go. I've seen the queues to get in to the Colosseum and was prepared to give it a miss. We learned we could visit the Forum now and come back later this afternoon to see the Colosseum. Perfect.
Wandering around the ruins of the Roman forum is a little surreal. Large chunks of ancient columns lay scattered about interspersed with monuments and remains of buildings and communal structures from across the eras. Next to the site of an ancient marketplace is the Roman Curia Julia or courthouse dating from around 30BCE. Unfortunately this building was closed today - a shame because I have read that it is quite lovely inside.
We take a meandering route past the monument to Caesar, the House of the Vestal Virgins and the Church of St Lawrence of Miranda which began life as the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina until we come to the Arch of Septimius Severus before exiting the Forum just behind the Monument of Vittoriano Emanuelle.
Later this evening, after an afternoon rest, we return to visit the Colosseum. Feeling a little like VIPs bypassing the queue, we present our tickets and walk straight in. Since we are not taking a tour we try to take in the immensity of the structure and attempt to picture in our minds how it would have been used in its time. The central arena has long since lost its floor which allows the sub-floor structure to be clearly visible. We can only imagine what torture and glory was celebrated in this place.