Stop 8: Rome (page 2) travel notes and photos

Sunday, October 22:  We toured the Appian Way:  It was everything we had expected it to be.

Built in 312 B.C. it runs for about 430 miles and in mostly a straight line.  Initially, it was created as a way to efficiently move troops.  It was great to see.

There was a bike rental place where we rented one adult and one junior size bike.  Elsa has decided to run behind Henry’s bike —  “Run, Elsa, run…”

Just like Forrest Gump.

Giant plants along the way

This stretch of road was so beautiful and so historic.

Here are a few examples of the homes along the Appian Way…

Some wildlife along the “way”

Thanks for reading. Miss you all.

Monday, October 22:  Lazy day, somewhat by intention and not.  Homeschooled in the am and walked to St. Peter’s to walk up the dome.  Got there and there was a line wrapped around the Square.  Decided against it today since we have the luxury of about a whole other week here before heading out.  Walked around a bit and then headed back to the apartment.

Tomorrow we are having lunch with Nate (Charlie’s business partner) and his new wife, Shannon.  Then, tomorrow the owner of the apartment is sending his “trusted domestic” over to cook us an Italian dinner.  Yea!

Thanks for reading.  Miss you all.

Tuesday, October 23: Great day.  Homeschooled and then headed to lunch with Nate and Shannon.  We met up with them at a restaurant not too far from the Spanish Steps.  We had a terrific meal and even outdid the Italians at one of their pastimes — leisurely lunches.  We dined from 1 – 4:00.

The newlyweds – Shannon and Nate

Limoncello for everyone — except the kids, of course.

What a terrific afternoon.  This evening, we are having a meal prepared for us in our apartment — even though I am still way too full from lunch.  Hopefully, she’ll be late in getting here and slow in her preparation. 🙂

Thanks for reading. Miss you all.

Wednesday, October 24:  Toured the Borghese Gallery which has a bunch of Bernini sculptures and other famous paintings by Caravaggio and Raphael.
Since you cannot bring anything into the museum (including cameras) I was not able to get any photos of the works but here are a few I got off the web.

Apollo and Daphne (the Wood Nymph), Bernini

Apollo and Daphne was amazing.  The piece tells the story of Apollo who fell in love with Daphne but she did not return his affections.  It’s a long complicated story so I searched and found a summary online to share:

  • Apollo has just killed the Python, a gigantic snake, and he’s feeling really full of himself.
  • The god comes across Cupid (called Eros by the Greeks).
  • Apollo teases Cupid about his archery, saying that Cupid is nowhere as good with the bow and arrow as he is.
  • Cupid doesn’t appreciate Apollo’s teasing and decides to mess with the rival god’s heart.
  • The little winged god of desire fires off two arrows.
  • One arrow is tipped with gold and is designed to make people fall in love.
  • The other is tipped with lead and does the opposite.
  • Cupid nails Apollo with the golden arrow of love, and shoots a nymph named Daphne with the arrow tipped with lead.
  • Instantly, Apollo falls in love with Daphne, but she finds the idea of loving anybody totally gross.
  • Daphne tells her father, Peneus (a river god), that she wants to always be a virgin like the goddess Artemis (Apollo’s twin sister, Diana to the Romans).
  • Peneus tells his daughter that she owes him some grandchildren.
  • She keeps begging, though, and Peneus agrees to his daughter’s request, telling her that she’ll never have to get married.
  • However, the river god cryptically adds, “Your own face will forbid it.”
  • Anyway, thanks to Cupid’s shenanigans Apollo is now totally in love with Daphne. He chases her all around the woods, trying to convince her of how completely awesome he is.
  • Daphne is not having it, however, and just keeps on running.
  • Eventually, Apollo catches up with the beautiful nymph. When he just about has her, Daphne calls out for her father to help her.
  • Peneus does what any concerned father would do – he turns his lovely daughter into a tree.
  • Yep, before Apollo can get to her, Daphne is encased in bark, rooted to the ground, and has sprouted leaves.
  • Apollo’s ladylove becomes a laurel tree.
  • As you might imagine, Apollo is pretty upset. He declares that he will never forget Daphne and makes the laurel his sacred tree.
  • Apollo says that he will wear a crown of laurel on his head and decorate his bow and lyre (a harp-like musical instrument) with laurel leaves.
  • The grief-stricken god swears to the laurel tree that it will always stay green and never rot.
  • The laurel tree bows its head in gratitude.

When you’re up close, it’s hard to believe that it’s marble.  It’s truly amazing.

Another famous sculpture we saw was…

Pauline Bonaparte — Napolean’s sister.

Pauline, Napolean’s sister was considered to be a real pain.  She disliked Roman society. Before she went back to France, she went to Florence where she commissioned the above sculpture of her self from the sculptor Antonio Canova, the most famous sculptor in Italy at the time. Canova had already done several commissions for Napoleon so it was only natural that he sculpt the Emperor’s favorite sister. Pauline decided to pose nude, which shocked the sculptor, whose hands shook when he applied the clay to her body. When she was later asked how she could possibly pose nude, she replied that ‘Why not, it was not cold, there was a fire in the studio.’ The statue of Pauline as Venus Victrix so appalled her husband that he kept in the attic where no one can see it (it is now on display at the Villa Borghese in Rome where everyone can see it).

“My family have done me far more harm than I have been able to do them good.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

Titian, Sacred and Profane Love

An end to a great day…dinner out by ourselves.  After 9 weeks, we deserved an adult dinner away from the kids!  We went to a great restaurant called Antico Arco in Trastevere.

Ravioli with Rock Fish and Sea Bass in an arrabiata sauce! Delicious.

Today we are going to walk the dome of St. Peter’s.

Thursday, October 25:  We had a terrific day today.

Walked to the top of the Dome.  We arrived and the line was super long (like the other day).  Elsa and I stood in line while Henry and Charlie tried to find us a way to the top without waiting in line (is anyone surprised?).  Well, short story, short…he found (paid) for us to have  a quick way in to the Dome.  Walked the dome and all 300 + stairs up.

Cupola, anyone?

Andrea, this is for you.

Ceiling of St Peters Dome

on the way up…

Yes, the camera is straight — the walls are curved

Mosaic in St. Peter’s

Kids going the final 20 steps!

The Square from above

Tomorrow we head to Pompeii about 7:30 am.  The bus ride takes about 3 hours.  I am well equipped with snacks, headphones and iPads.

Thanks for reading. Miss you all.

Friday, October 26:  Took a bus to Pompeii, walked the ruins and came back to Rome.  We took a small group tour and saw some very neat sites.  It was interesting for me because I had been to Pompeii two times before so I got to see some sites that I had never seen before.  However, Charlie was a little disappointed that he did not get to see more of the homes of the residents.

We’ve decided that we are all “Rome-ed” out and ready to leave so we’ve decided to cut our time here short by a day.  We were supposed to leave here Wednesday am but decided to head to Florence a day early so we are going to leave Rome Tuesday am.  At least we’ll have a chance to get the kids settled and figure out this Italian Halloween thing before the “big grab”.

Mt Vesuvius

Facts about Pompeii

Found some of these facts below about Pompeii on a “Pompeii for Kids” site.  🙂

  • The inhabitants of Pompeii did not know that Vesuvius was a volcano, as it hadn’t erupted in 1,800 years. There isn’t even a Latin word for volcano.
  • The longer a volcano sleeps, the more deadly the eruption. There were signs that Vesuvius was beginning to stir – earthquakes, ground rising up and underground springs drying up – but the people didn’t know how to read these signs or understand what they meant.
  • A reservoir of boiling magma some three kilometers wide formed within Vesuvius, trapped inside by a plug of old magma. A chemical reaction involving water and gases finally shattered the lava plug and Vesuvius roared back to life.
  • The eruption of AD 79 was very unusual, without lava or other characteristics normally associated with volcanoes. It was a Plinian eruption – the most dangerous and feared kind of all – involving super-heated gas, magma and ash that form a giant towering column that builds up into the sky. The magma cools and falls to the earth as pumice. Vesuvius erupts in this way once in every 2,000 years.
  • Mixed in with the pumice stones were lithics – cold dense rocks torn from inside the volcano and carried up into the atmosphere only to fall back to earth as deadly missiles traveling at speeds reaching 180 kilometers per hour. At the peak of the eruption, a staggering 100,000 tons of magma, ash and gas was released from the volcano every second, traveling upwards at the speed of a jet plane to reach 33 kilometers in height – that’s 3.5 times the height of Everest.
  • From beginning to end, the eruption took just under 24 hours.
  • Had the eruption taken place on any other day, the people of Pompeii might have stood a better chance of escape. Usually the wind blew in a southwesterly direction, which would have blown the column out over the Bay of Naples . But on that fateful day, the wind was blowing in a northwesterly direction – straight over Pompeii .
  • Vesuvius ejected more than four cubic kilometers of material over Campagnia that day. Ash fall was traced as far away as Africa .
  • The seaside resort of Herculaneum was buried under 25 meters of pyroclastic material, extending the coastline by some 450 meters.
  • Roman hours weren’t 60 minutes long all the time – there were always 12 ‘hours’ in the day and depending on whether it was winter or summer, the hours would be longer or shorter to fit into 12 units. So in deep winter, the hours would last for 45 minutes, and at the height of summer they would be 75 minutes long.

Panoramic View of Pompeii

The very first fast food. Pompeii’s version of McDonald’s – quick food to take away.

Vesuvius in the distance

Thanks for reading. Miss you all.

Saturday, October 27:  It was a fairly good and lazy Saturday.  managed to stay home and hang out until about 1:30 or so then we took a walk and i took some snaps so you could see some of our neighborhood…

Here’s our building in Rome.

Church right next store

We also walked for a bit into the Jewish Ghetto and came across the ruins of the Porticus Ottavia.

The Portico of Ottavia  was erected in 146 B.C. at the southernmost point of Campus Martius by Quintus Caecilius Metellus, who also built the Temple of Juno Regina in this area.  Between 33 and 27 B.C., Emperor Augustus named the area Circus Flaminius. He restored the entire complex using victory spoils from Dalmatia, dedicating the portico to his sister Ottavia. What a nice brother!

After walking a few steps past this Porticus Ottavia, we found the Theater of Marcellus which Henry quickly informed because he had read about it in his Rome Reconstructed Book.  Here’s some info on the theater that I learned from the internet:

The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient open-air theatre in RomeItaly, built in the closing years of theRoman Republic. At the theatre, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song. Today its ancient edifice in the rione of Sant’Angelo, Rome, once again provides one of the city’s many popular spectacles or tourist sites. It was named after Marcus Marcellus, Emperor Augustus’s nephew, who died five years before its completion. 

Theater of Marcellus by night.

Thanks for reading. Miss you all.

Sunday, October 28:  Okay, so Charlie thinks I am adding too much info to these pages.  What’s your opinion?

Regardless, our Sunday was another good and lazy day.  Took the kids to the DaVinci exhibit, about 5 minutes from the house. They had a lot of re-creations of the machines he built – many of which you could touch and turn and twist — the kids loved that.  It was amazing. I always knew the basics about him but was impressed to learn even more.

DaVinci Exhibit

DaVinci’s tank

Inside of the tank — the tank moved by the power of four guys who turned the wheels

DaVinci had early concepts for flight – including helicopters – over 200 years before they were realized.

Weird looking dude — think that’s supposed to be a young DaVinci.

A little local color – Campo Fiori flower market, a 3 min walk from the apartment.

Tomorrow is our last day in Rome. We are leaving a day early to get to Florence so we can see the sites and get settled and get things figured out for Halloween.

From Florence on Nov 1, we drive to Pisa on the way out of town – take a quick tour up the Leaning Tower and get back in the car and drive to Monaco.  We stay one night in a hotel with a balcony, pool and right on the marina. It will be nice to enjoy a few luxuries like the gym, in-house restaurant, etc,

Then, Nov 2 we drive to Montpellier France – on our way through to Barcelona.  Then, we will stay three days there and then begin our two day journey to Marbella.  We’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading. Miss you all.


Monday, October 29:  All eyes were riveted to the TV today as we kept watch on “Sandy”.  We hope all of our friends and family in Virginia and northward are okay.

Leaving for Florence tomorrow (really today at this point since it’s the middle of the night here).  Planning on walking up the Duomo, getting our bearings and seeing some sites.  Wednesday am we are heading to the Uffizi and then of course, preparing for Halloween in Florence.  🙂 Should be interesting.


Great last dinner at a local restaurant in Campo Fiori.


5 thoughts on “Stop 8: Rome (page 2) travel notes and photos

  1. Charles and Liz,
    I am glad that you guys had the vision to do this trip.
    Robert and I spent 6.5 weeks on a big loop through Europe this summer and that was just too short. Carpe Diem – and no regrets.
    Bob Blackwell

  2. It’s all so much…beauty, history, everything. What an amazing thing you are doing….doesn’t seem real sometimes from here. That said, please come home. I mean, really…how many fabulous churches, buildings, restaurants, statues do you really need in you life!:) Thinking about you guys all the time.
    Miss you. Much much love, Drea

  3. Super cool stuff! I feel like Liz is home schooling me too! I am getting so many good history lessons out of this. I don’t think you’re writing too much. Don’t listen to my dumb brother. ; )

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