Italy Part 1: Rome

Maddie and Ada’s school has a two week Easter break, and so we decided to use it to visit Italy. In addition to all the usual planning of AirBnB’s and train schedules, we agreed on one rule for our trip—”Ice Cream Every Day,” and I’m proud to say that we lived by that rule so well, and enjoyed the ice cream so much, that I don’t have any photos as evidence.

When we left Oslo, it was still jacket weather, with temperatures hovering around 40°F, and we arrived in Italy with temperatures between 50°-60°F. Maddie and Ada have now fully acclimated as Norwegians, so they declared themselves “super hot” and wanted to wear as little clothing as possible once we arrived.

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We spent the first five days of our trip to Rome with a side trip to Pompeii. It’s hard not to be impressed by the Roman civilization after visiting both Rome and Pompeii.

Our first day was spent visiting the Colosseum where we were all impressed (and horrified) by imagining gladiators fighting each other. Maddie and Ada were especially interested in the elevator the Romans engineered to carry animals into the arena. Here is a picture of Maddie and Ada after a nice picnic in the shadow of the Colosseum:


and us once we entered (after an interminable line despite our “fast pass”- so many tourists!)

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Just outside the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine which was erected in AD 315 to commemorate Constantine’s victory over the previous Roman Emperor Maxentius.


Our next day was spent exploring the Roman Forum, a plaza surrounded by the ruins of government buildings from ancient Rome. Maddie and Ada are pictured here in front of the Basilica of Constantine, a Roman hall of Justice.

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Here they are in front of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the twin sons of Zeus and Leda, built in 484 BC.

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Ada posing near some ruins in Palatine hill, where wealthy ancient Romans lived and where Romulus and Remus were raised by a wolf before founding Rome:


After visiting the Forum, we headed to the Capitoline Museum where Maddie fell in love with the kids audio tour (which meant she urged us to stay at the museum for more than 2 hours so she could finish it!) Below is a picture of Maddie listening to her audio tour in front of a statue depicting twins Romelus and Remus:


And here they are posing in front of a fountain of Poseidon at the museum. Like, Greece, Maddie loved seeing depictions of all the Greek Gods she learned about in class.  

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And here is another view of the Roman Forum from the balcony of the museum:


That evening was spent eating dinner, enjoying the fountains and watching street artists perform in the Piazza Navona:

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The next day we decided to take part of Rick Steves’s walking tour through Rome to Villa Borghese. On the way, we saw the Pantheon, a former temple for all the gods, converted into a church. Erected in 126 AD, the Pantheon’s domed interior, the first of its kind, was copied by later architects for many places of worship.

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We also passed by the famous Trevi Fountain where Maddie and Ada tossed a coin over their shoulder because they want to come back to Rome:


and ended in the park where we enjoyed a beautiful view of Rome:


Got to see a water clock:


Ride a carousel:


Attend a Gelato Festival (!):


and take a tour of the park with a super cool motorized bike/golf cart:


The next day, we toured the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Both were amazing but would have been even more amazing had we not had to contend with the crowds of tourists. Maddie and Ada both loved their audio tour though:


but were not as impressed with the long line to see the Sistine Chapel:


Our five days in Rome left us feeling like there was much more to explore in this amazing city, with countless historical sites and gelaterias waiting to welcome us back.

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