We got an early start, visiting the Arch of Constantine before the crowds had filled in the area around the Colosseum. You can also see where the Meta Sudans was (the dripping turning post, a cone-shaped monument that stood next to the Colosseum until the 1930s when, predictably, Mussolini had it removed). We visited the Temple of Venus & Roma, which has two cellae back-to-back and was a massive temple. Speaking of massive, we also walked over to the Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine with its 25 m vaults in the side aisles. This is where the colossal statue of Constantine (the head and finger of which are in the Capitoline Museum) were found. Next up was the so-called Temple of Romulus, dedicated to Maxentius’ dead son (but possibly also to the founder of Rome, and also possibly the Temple of Jupiter Stator), then the Temple of Antoninus Pius & Faustina (unfortunately covered in scaffolding).
We walked by the Clivus Capitolinus (the triumphal path from the Forum up to the Capitolium) and the Temple of Saturn on the way up to the Capitoline Museum. Quite a lot here—of particular note was a giant statue of Mars reminiscent of the one seen on the Arch of Trajan at Beneventum; the magnificent Dying Gaul (in the room of which Nathanial Hawthorne once stood amazed); a bust of Cicero; the Capitoline Venus (which I saw last year in D.C. at the National Gallery); some lovely mosaics from Hadrian’s Villa & the Gardens of Maecenas; and some impressive paintings by Cortona, including The Rape of the Sabines.
I spent the afternoon shopping on Via del Corso, a more crowded, touristy, and less pleasant place to shop than the Vatican area. Toward the end of the day I made my way toward Campo di Fiori, which was more pleasant, before meeting Ted by the Tiber for dinner before trying to see Midnight in Paris (at the movie theater on the river). The pizza at dinner was not very good, but it was lovely by the river. We watched the beginning of the movie from a bridge over the Tiber and found that it was dubbed in Italian, so we did not go into the theater.
Today (Sunday) I am generally taking it easy before our big day at the Vatican Museums tomorrow.