“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Getting stuck in Vespa traffic has its upside along Rome's Via dei Fori Imperiali, a boulevard lined with the glories of ancient Rome. On one side are the stately ruins of millennia-old market forums and Trajan's exquisitely carved column. On the other flank is the Capitoline Hill, with its museums and a path worn by emperors commuting to the Roman Senate. Along Via dei Fori Imperiali, the Roman skyline is still defined by triumphal arches, crumbling ancient palaces and temples whose fires were once diligently stoked by Vestal Virgins upon pain of death. But the grand finale of this route is the Colosseum, where trained gladiators, ferocious beasts and hapless political prisoners fought to the death unless granted an imperial reprieve. On a good night, gladiatorial physiques can be glimpsed at the gay bar scene that's sprung up in the former fascist stronghold behind the Colosseum. Otherwise, Romans tend to scoot right past this area, avoiding the tourist menus and petty crime in the deserted area at night.