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

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Museums and Galleries with little ones

Artist of the Term: Michelangelo

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Easter Traditions (part 2)

Spring Picture Books

Master Storyteller Michael Morpurgo

Oxford is feeling very autumnal.

The holidays are nearly over.

We have got building work beginning on our house tomorrow morning!

But before I think to the term ahead, I wanted to share some of the books I’ve read over the summer.  My older two have loved passing on some of their favourites to me and we have had lovely conversations over meals or on car drives comparing thoughts on characters or plots.  Michael Morpurgo became Continue reading