Buongiorno Roma! And Happy Father’s Day!

A bit of Rome but first Happy Father’s Day.  On the flight over to Rome I read a great op-ed to all new (and in my my case OLD) fathers by Bob Gabordi executive editor at Florida Today.  Bob reminds us about what it takes to be a successful father.  In Summary, being a successful father comes down to
IMG_0565four things: showing up, being involved, doing the right things in your own life and loving your children with you heart and being – I’m hopeful that that my kids would agree that I’m trying to accomplish all of the above.

Today, we spent the day touring the ancient part of the eternal city with a fabulous local guide.  Our morning started at the Colloseum.  We walked through the ancient ruins with our very knowledgeable guide, who was able to explain to us everything we were seeing.  Kenneth was especially interested in hearing some of her stories of how the Gladiators were part of the shows inside the arena.  She had the coolest book that Belinda loved to look at too, which showed the ruins how they looked today, and then had an overlay page to show how they would have looked 2000 years ago.

It is amazing to believe that this building, which was built in 80 B.C., is still standing.  Not only is it standing, but it supports the traffic from 4 million visitors per year traipsing through.  I can’t imagine any of the buildings we have today lasting over 2000 years!

After touring the Colosseum, we walked into the Forum, which would have been the center of life in Ancient Rome.  We saw the ruins of temples, of the triumph arches, and old basilicas. She showed us the ruins of the house of the Vestal Virgins, who were responsible for keeping Rome’s eternal flame lit (and the area where the flame had been kept).  We also got to see where the funeral pyre for Julius Caesar was built (and, later in the day, where he was killed).

Three hours later, our tour was finished and our driver dropped us off at a restaurant recommended by our tour guide for lunch, Clemente alla Maddalena.  More pasta, more mozzarella, some calamari…and, of course, vino.  It was nice to sit and relax outside for a bit after walking in the hot sun all morning.  The food was very good, so we’re glad we asked for a recommendation as we know many restaurants in the central tourist areas are not.

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As we were very near the Pantheon, after lunch we decided to go inside to see what is one of the best preserved buildings in Rome.  Today, it is a Catholic basilica, which is the reason that it is so well preserved.  Our guide had explained to us earlier in the day that many of the old Roman temples were converted to Christian uses rather than destroyed.  Thus, effectively preserving many of the ancient architecture of the Roman Empire.  The Pantheon was also beautiful…and the opening at the top of the obelisk made the sun shine inside the church in the most interesting ways.

After the Pantheon, we decided to take the half mile or so walk over to the Trevi Fountain.  We took photos and took turns tossing the coins over our shoulders to guarantee our return trip to Rome someday.  The kids were amazed by the intricacy of the carvings on the fountain.

We ended the day with a great dinner at a small family owned restaurant called Ambasciata di Capri where the owner strolled through the restaurant serenading the guest with Italian opera.  Kenneth and Belinda enjoyed la vera Pizza Napoletana, chicken saltimbocca al la romana and we had the best lasagna paired with a beautiful Amarone Costasera.

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