|Today we headed out to see more of the sights of Rome......we started with the Spanish Steps and at the top of the steps was Trinity of Mounts Church. At the foot of the steps was the Piazza de Spagna and in the next square over was Piazza Mignamelli. We were a little disappointed with the Spanish Steps since all the pictures we have seen of them include a number of flower boxes and unfortunately there were absolutely no flowers to be seen on the steps and therefore they looked a little barren. We then made our way to the Trevi Fountain and then back to the fountain at Piazza Barberini where we caught the Metro to take us to the Ancient Centre. While there we saw the Pyramid of Caius Cestius at Piazza Ostiense and an old Roman Wall and the "Circo Massimo" or Circus Maximus. We then went to the Colosseum where we had a informative tour...the ancient Romans under Emperor Vespasian commenced building the Colosseum in 72 AD and completed construction in 80 AD when the inaugural games were held where many a gladiator and many wild animals met an untimely demise. We then continued our tour at the Palatine which once was the residence of emperors and aristocrats and the site of the Roman Forum. In the first to sixth centuries, the area below the hill on which the Palatine was built used to be a marshy swampland as a result of the Tiber River flooding quite regularly and the ancient Etruscans after learning drainage techniques from the ancient Greeks drained the valley below the seven hills of the city of Rome and after the area dried out the tribes people of the hills came "down" into the valley which then became the centre for finance, politics and socializing and thus the first "downtown" was created. The ancient Romans also perfected the technique of bringing water down from the mountains using the aquaduct.....water was brought 40 plus miles from the hills around ancient Roma and parts of the ancient aquaducts still exist today. The Romans were very proud of having developed this system of moving water and to this day there are water fountains most everywhere in the cities, towns and villages in Italy, always ready to provide a spot to quench your thirst (and you need it in this heat - most days around 35 degrees). Having had a long day we headed to the Metro to make our way back to our hotel. We were standing on the platform and when the train arrived there was a rush of people pushing from in front of us and from behind us and being caught up in the moment of telling people to stop pushing we had a momentary brain fart and forgot what we had read in our travel books as to how theives work in teams at the train and metro stations and in the blink of an eye, my pocket was picked. When I put my hand down to check my zippered pocket as I had been doing throughout the trip thus far, I could feel that my zipper was open and that my wallet was gone and then Barb says I went completely white and I had an empty feeling in my stomach. Barb and I had a moment of panic but we quickly composed ourselves and got back to the hotel as fast as we could and went thru the gyrations of cancelling credit cards and making arrangements for new ones. I guess we won't be getting out of Rome sooner than we had expected having gotten our Chinese Visas so quickly....oh well, crap happens......