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The Gladiator

Posted on Mar 29, 2009 | 15 comments

Ok, I have a confession to make. I figure we’re friends here, so I can tell you the truth. I can’t stand those guys who dress up as gladiators and I can’t stand Piazza di Spagna, and yet, here is a photo of a gladiator in Piazza di Spagna. Of course when people are visiting and they tell me they want to go the Spanish Steps, I force a smile and nod, but really, I avoid that place at all costs if I can. Ask my motherβ€”I made her and my father visit there when they took a walk on their own…I wouldn’t go near the place. So why don’t I like it? I just feel like there are thousands of other squares and monuments that are so much more appealing to me and I also really don’t like the feeling of being crushed in a throng of people, which is what always happens there. Sorry….don’t kill me! However, I found myself heading right into the eye of the storm yesterday as I was walking toward the MondoPop Gallery on via dei Greci to check out the vinyl record exhibit. The square is packed any day of the week, but on the weekend it’s crazy. I was determined to rush my way through when I saw this off duty gladiator chatting with a friend and knew I had to stop and get a snap. Let me tell you, it was an exercise in patience to get one shot off when there weren’t a million people in front of them. In fact, that’s why I present you with the photo below, which I actually think gives a good sense of the normal chaos and mix of people in the city. The kid on the bike, the fashionable women with their cigarettes and Louis Vuitton, and a gladiator in the background. Oh…and why don’t I like the gladiators? Well besides the fact that I think they’re kind of cheesy, I’ve also seen them grope more women than I care to remember while they’re getting their photo taken. (I know I know, I’m sure not all are like that, but I am just making a personal observation)


  1. Ciao molto carino il tuo blog
    l’ho appena aggiunto alla lista dei miei link

    se vuoi contraccambiare…
    questo Γ¨ il mio blog

    un saluto

  2. I totally agree with your posting. Even though I love Rome, but I must say that Piazza di Spagna is way too crowded to actually enjoy.
    I prefer Piazza Navona.
    The picture is wonderful, a very beautiful snapshop.
    I enjoy your blog very much.

  3. Ciao Fabio e grazie! Bello anche il tuo blog..complimenti!

    ShesDaily – Thanks for stopping by. Piazza Navona is one of my favorites. I mean it’s crowded as well, but seems to “handle it” better. Also, how can you go wrong with the Fountain of Four Rivers?

  4. I was in Rome many years ago and I recall a lot of groping. Or was that griping?

    No, groping. I also recall in the evenings, while walking the streets, being accosted several times by prostitutes on motorbikes driven by their pimps.

    That was pretty exciting for a 19-year old kid from Minneapolis.

    No, I didn’t take any offers.

  5. Jacob – Prostitutes and pimps careening around the streets on motorini? Wow! That is a new one for sure. Haha how long ago was that? Viewing audience, I would like to clarify that I’ve not seen this happening anymore…maybe young kids all piled on, but definitely not pimps! πŸ˜‰

  6. I lived for a short time on Via del Babuino while I was a grad student. I used to take the metro at Flaminio to avoid Piazza di Spagna, even though it was a longer walk! So I completely understand.

  7. I avoid the Spanish Steps as well, although the church at the top is very beautiful inside.

    Cool photos.

  8. Ah ah.. you’re right, Spanish steps are actually far from real roman life.. and are a place fo tourism.. i don’t like that place.. is it better to go to villa borghese not far from there!

    BTW that is not a gladiator.. it’s a Centurion (an ancient roman soldier) or a Pretorian (ancient roman honour guards), gladiators were slave fighters used in shows in arenas like colosseo and others!

    As usually i had to write a lot!

    The pics are wonderful.. colours hit me really hard.. very cooool!

  9. KC, NYC – I love all the confirmation of my hatred toward the Spanish Steps! Not hatred, you know what I mean.

    3mendo – You are always welcome with your long, but insightful comments. And yes, you are right….I should know these things! So the title of my post is wrong, but you get the sense of it πŸ˜‰

  10. Hi Jessica,
    Can’t figure out how I missed this picture before. However, just to comment on your comment–I pretty much feel the same way you do about the Piazza most of the time. So one time I went there before 7 am and found it wonderful. I even slogged up the steps to get the empty square picture. And I won’t go in to the time I ended up there when the Pope was arriving!!
    My favorite gladiator was the one I saw with long red underwear bagging around his knees in November by the Colosseum.

  11. Ciao Joan – Yes, definitely any of these places are entirely different either at the crack of dawn or super late at night. Oh lord, I can only imagine that gladiator!

  12. Jessica – I am not finished looking at your photos, but wanted to say I fell in love with Rome on a visit during Christmas 2005, with family in tow. I loved everything (even, dare I say, the Spanish Steps!) about Rome. We have some great photos and one of my favs is an off-duty gladiator or centurian near the Coliseum, on break and in full garb smoking a Marlboro! Enjoy your time there, lucky woman.

  13. Ciao Elaine! Glad you like the blog! Rome at Christmas is really nice I must say. Even though it’s crowded for the holiday, it’s still much less crowded than high tourist season so more bearable. Haha ah yes, the smoking Gladiator. Right up there with the Gladiator texting on his mobile phone πŸ˜‰

  14. I liked the picture with a man on a bike asking gladiator something. It is really funny and cute, like you walk in Rome, may be get lost, suddenly meet Gladiator and ask him the way.

    City cultural commerce (dressed actors, artists) is not a pleasant thing in most of the cases.

    When I went to Paris first of all I wanted to see Place de Tearte in Montmartre. I expected to happen in a cozy and romantic square filled wuth artistic atmosphere.
    Instead of it I saw fully commercialized, noisy place where all people – artists, cafe owners had no interests but money. There was no place for romance or culture values.
    I sometimes have the same feeling when I see dressed actors on the streets.

    On the other hard this is a way for people to earn money and support their families. And may be there should be such places in the cities to provide people with self-employment opportunities.

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