Visiting Rome

“Rome, the city of visible history.”

— George Elliot

If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that we’ve just got back from an amazing few days in Rome. George Elliot is spot on. Rome certainly is “the city of visible history”. Wherever  we looked – whether up at the domes, down the cobbled alleyways or strolling around the Colosseum – history was there.

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We had 4 days to explore, and knew we were only going to be able to scratch the surface. The children’s enthusiasm for seeing the sights was more than we could have hoped for.  Admittedly we did talk up the trip for months and immersed ourselves in books on Rome. We also spent a couple of Sunday afternoons watching Rome Unpacked, a two part BBC documentary.  This sort of preparation was invaluable and helped bring our trip to life.

Day 1

We arrived late afternoon and strolled from our Airbnb flat near Piazza Navona to enjoy Bernini’s fountains, some Caravaggio paintings tucked away in small churches and the extraordinary Pantheon, which has Raphael’s tomb in it.

Day 2

We headed straight to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill where Romulus and Remus were said to have been looked after by the She-Wolf. Everyone had been anticipating the large amphitheatre – thinking of both the gladiatorial fights and the persecution of Christians under Nero. To think it was built in only 8 years and is still standing is remarkable.

After a couple of hours crashing at our flat we ventured out to visit Nicola Salvi’s famous Trevi fountain. This was a real highlight despite the crowds.  Rome’s sculpture was a real highlight.

Day 3

This day was primarily for the Vatican Museums.  We were all really looking forward to seeing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s School of Athens, but we saw so many other treats in the halls and galleries, including works by Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse.  The Sistine Chapel ceiling was fabulous in every way  – a real marvel.  Sadly we had no time for St.Peter’s Basilica on this visit – it will have to wait for another trip – I particularly wanted to see Michelangelo’s Pietà.

Another few hours of collapsing at the flat revived us to go and climb the Spanish Steps. The kids raced up and down counting the steps whilst enjoying the beautiful view over the city.

Day 4

On our last morning, the boys went off to Il Vittoriano (or the ‘Typewriter’) and looked over Rome from the top. Us girls pottered around the market at Campo de Fiori and hung out in Piazza Farnese soaking up the Italian sun, enjoying Michelangelo’s designs of the Palazzo Farnese, before walking past the spot that Julius Caesar was stabbed by Brutus.

Of course we also sampled vast quantities of delicious pasta, pizza and gelato.  Our visit was indeed short but sweet.

“Rome, the city of visible history.”

Here are a few recommended books and resources:

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Roman Mystery Book Series (7 years up)

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Sistine Chapel Ceiling 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Previous Recommended Posts:

Living History

Visiting Paris

Museums and Galleries with little ones

Artist of the Term: Michelangelo

Easter Picture Books & Read Alouds

Easter is coming

Easter Traditions (part 1)

Easter Traditions (part 2)

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A Light Exists in Spring

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

— Emily Dickinson

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We probably read Shakespeare in the first place for his stories, afterwards for his characters, the multitude of delightful persons with whom he makes us so intimate that afterwards, in fiction or in fact, we say, ‘She is another Jessica,’ and ‘That dear girl is a Miranda’; ‘She is a Cordelia to her father,’ and, such a figure in history, ‘a base lago.’ To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.

— Charlotte Mason

It feels as though we have just taken the lid off a treasure chest as we have opened William Shakespeare together this term. Continue reading

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Turner has some golden visions, glorious and beautiful. They are only visions, but still, they are art, and one could live and die with such pictures.

John Constable on the 1828 Royal Academy Exhibition.

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Winter Picture Books

The Snowdrop Fairy

Deep sleeps the Winter,
Cold, wet, and grey;
Surely all the world is dead;
Spring is far away.
Wait! the world shall waken;
It is not dead, for lo,
The Fair Maids of February
Stand in the snow!

— Cicely Mary Barker

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An Abundance of Christmas Stories

“Always winter and never Christmas;
think of that!”
“How awful!” said Lucy.

— The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

Lucy is right. It would be awful!  Christmas is most definitely the light in the darkness. Such joy amidst the long winter months. Continue reading

The Nutcracker Extravaganza

I know it’s only just November! But I thought I’d share one of my plans for the rest of term.  In the lead up to Christmas we are going to go ‘Nutcracker’ crazy!

Tchaikovsky’s perfect seasonal ballet. Continue reading