And here is the grand boulevard that runs from the Colosseum to the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II - it is called Via dei Fori Imperiali. Note the Italian military truck hauling a view booth, to be stationed along this street for a military parade on June 3rd.
Here is a shot of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, celebrating the unification of Italy.
Since there is a natural supply of water under Rome, there are fountains like this all over town. Even locals fill water bottles from these fountains.
Via Dei Fori Imperiali runs right through some of the most precious ruins in Rome, indeed in all of the Roman Empire. Before it's construction in the 1920s, there were plans for a huge conservation effort for the entire area. But Mussolini ordered the construction of the road, destroying part of the ruins. Here are some pre-construction photos.
A shot of some of the ruins that have survived.
Italian red poppies are everywhere in Rome in May!
This particular ruin had a permanent awning over this feature. If someone knows what it is, would love to find out.
Here is Trajan's Forum, located directly across the street from the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II. The line of columns is especially picturesque.
The highlight of this particular area is Trajan's Column, built in 113 BC to commemorate the Roman emporer Trajan's victories in the Dacian Wars. Ancient coins indicate it was to be toped with a bird statue, probably an eagle. But on December 4, 1587, Pope Sixtus V put a bronze figure of St. Peter atop the pole, which remains there to this day.
They were building huge viewing stands along Via dei Fori Imperiali while we were there. We asked around and found out that there was going to be a huge military parade on June 3, 2011. In fact, they began rehearsals overnight on the days leading up to June 3rd. It must be quite an important parade!
This shows just how elaborate the viewing stands were going to be. I would expect the top Italian leaders would be sitting in this area.
A photo of the street along Via dei Fori Imperiali, which is the way almost all streets in Old Rome looked, made up of small black cobblestones. I'm not sure, is this lava rock or something else? Outside of the old Roman walls, streets are paved with asphault like everywhere else on earth.
My wife standing in front of the Roman Forum.
This is the only fruit & vegetable stand we saw, but it stood out like a beacon of color at night. It actually could take your breath away with the vibrant colors and smells. Very very nice.