Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Roman Forum

One of the advantages of being in Rome with the students is the guided tours by a historian. We waited until today to go to the Roman Forum so that we could join in their tour. Even though I have been to Rome before, I have never been through the Forum so I was very excited to take this tour today. It was a great experience and we learned a lot. Just a few background notes about the Forum: This was the center of everything for over 700 years until it was sacked in 476 A.D. The oldest structures there date back to 500 B.C. It was eventually abandoned and barbarians and popes took most of the gold, metal, and marble that once adorned the buildings. It had eventually filled in with so much dirt and debris that it became a cow pasture until it was excavated in the late 1800's when archaeologists had to remove 27 ft. of dirt to hit ground level.

We started our tour on Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio):

Oliver's mode of transportation for the day:

View of the Forum from the hill:

Various photos of the Forum:

If you look carefully in that last photo, you can see the Colosseum. Sneak Peek!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cooling Off

For Father's Day, Oliver and I got Andy a book called "Style City: Rome" which is less a book about the touristy spots and more about the stylish places in the city. In it, we found the Radisson Hotel (, a brand new, hip, modern hotel with a pool on the roof. Non-guests of the hotel can use the pool for a price, so to cool down from the heat, we went for the afternoon. It was very nice - it had a great bar so you could sip cocktails poolside. It was a nice break from the heat.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Can't Beat the Heat

It is still extremely hot here, in Rome, and we are trying to stay cool inside. Besides our trips to the market we haven't been out much at all. Andy started teaching today and Oliver and I were getting a little bored at home. He was done playing with the few toys we brought for him from home so I decided to freshen it up for him - we paid a visit to the toy store. Citta' Del Sole is a cool little toy store in between the Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. We picked out this toy called Cubanimo, which is blocks and animals. Oliver loves it. He played with them all afternoon.

It is supposed to cool down towards the end of the week. I can't wait!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No Photos

It has been extremely hot here in Rome. Today the temperature reached 104 deegrees. We are here for four months - we can wait until it gets cooler to see the city. So we all rested inside. The apartment we are staying in dates back to the 1500's. It has very thick walls and looks into 2 inner courtyards so it is not exposed to direct sunlight so it stayed pretty cool.

Yesterday, Andy started work and Oliver and I were left on our own so we went to see the Crypt of the Capuchin Monks. This church crypt is decorated with the bones of thousands of monks. Their skeletons were dismantled and made into decorations on the walls, ceilings, floors. some of the monks remain intact, skin and everything, with their robes on, propped up on display. Unfotunately, they did not allow photography of any kind so I have no photos. I did find a good website with lots of photos here:

Just outside the church is the Piazza Barberini and Bernini's Triton Fountain, the merman spouting water from a conch shell.

Ok, so, one photo.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Today we got our first glimpse of Roman ruins. We headed out, this morning, to the art supply store, which is located on a street behind the Pantheon, when we ran into the Area Sacra. These are ruins of four temples built between the 4th and 3rd century B.C.

Walking around further we came across the beautiful Fontana Delle Tartarughe (Fountain of the Tortoises), built in 1588.

And then we ran into some more ruins. This is the Porticus Octaviae built by Augustus around 27 B.C.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Every morning in the Campo de Fiori, there is a fresh market where they sell everything you need to make your meals for that day. Everything is sold there - fresh vegetables and fruits, meats, cheeses, pastas, wines, spices. We head there every morning and pick up our food for the day.

The vendors are so nice to us. They love to see the bambino. Even though some of them don't speak English at all and we don't speak that much Italian, we get along ok.

The prices are extremely good. Today we picked up a whole grocery bag full of produce for less than 4 Euros. About $5.25. Not too bad.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Quest

Some things are very easy, travelling with a baby, and then other things.......... not so much. Since our arrival we have been feeding Oliver in his stroller. This is a very messy ordeal considering he has become a self feeder (even though half of it ends up on the floor on purpose) and it has no tray. We were on a quest today to buy him a booster seat so that his stroller wouldn't become completely wrecked and he could actually join us at the table. This wasn't as easy as you think it would be. Italy doesn't have Bambinos 'R' Us. There are actually very few baby product stores here. After searching and searching, we were left with two options: a Farmacia (pharmacy) carrying baby products and a store called Prenatal. Both were clear across town. The Farmacia was closed when we got there so we headed to Prenatal. We finally found a booster seat there! Yay! Oliver was very happy when we got home and assembled it. He even christened it with a mushy banana.

Also on a good note: our car seat arrived this morning from Alitalia. It only took 5 days. Not bad.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday in the Park

You can't throw a stone in Rome without hitting some kind of landmark. We decided to go to the Villa Borghese, which is a large park with a zoo, in the northern part of the city. To get there we had to walk across the Centro Storico, or the Historic Center of Rome. Along the way we ran in to plenty of sites.

The Pantheon (again), this time the back:

The Fontana di Trevi, or the Trevi Fountain, which had a massive amount of people there:

The Spanish Steps:

and The Piazza del Popolo, the square of the people, seen here from Pincio Hill, which is on the edge of the Villa Borghese:

The park was very nice with beautiful Romanesque scenery high above the city. We had a little picnic for lunch on the lawn. Oliver and I shared a peach. He only has two front teeth but somehow he manages to eat this thing.

Some images of Villa Borghese:

We took Oliver to the Zoo and he had a blast checking out all of the animals.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Strolling Around

We woke up fairly early this morning, trying to get over our jet lag and into our new time zone. Oliver has adjusted really well and slept through the night - I had to wake him up this morning and he was still pretty sleepy - a first for him. We decided to go out and stroll around and headed for the Piazza Navona for a caffelatte.

Very close to the Piazza Navona is the Pantheon. It was nice being there so early. There weren't a lot of people there and the sun was shining throught the oculus, projecting a large ray of light onto the coffers of the dome.

We headed back to the apartment along the river passing by the Castel S. Angelo and the Ponte S. Angelo which is lined with Bernini's angels.

We had such a busy morning, we took the afternoon off to rest. Ate an early dinner and hung out in the Campo de Fiori with some gelato.