Even though BabyGirl and I have been home from Italy for several months, we often take time to look through the thousands of photos we took. I see the photos and think about how amazing it is that I saw these historical sights, and was able to share the experience with my daughter so early in her life.
Come with me on a little trip … to Italy!
This is inside the Roman Colosseum, which was originally called the Flavian Amphitheater. It took 8 years to construct and was completed in 80 AD (or as I usually refer to it, ACE). To think, I stood there. In the same place people stood over 1,900 years ago. It truly is spectacular. From where I stood to the fence at the far end of the photo is approximately 350 feet. The walls in the inner oval (part of the hypogeum) area were actually underground. They were the holding areas for both the gladiators and animals that would fight. It is truly a sight to behold. It is enormous and despite being exposed to the elements all these years it has stood to tell the story of modern civilization. Sure, it’s a tourist spot. But due to it’s delicate state the number of visitors allowed inside is limited. That makes it even more special.
Pompeii, with Mt. Vesuvius in the background, was buried under nearly 20-feet of ash when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD (ACE). While Vesuvius pretty much destroyed both Pompeii and Hurculaneum, the ruins of Pompeii remained buried for nearly 1700, until they were intentionally excavated after the accidental discovery of Hurculaneum in 1738. Over the last 250 years there have been major excavations, providing so much detail about the lives of people in Pompeii. They had running water, although all the pipes were lead. There was an open-air fresh market and a bakery, fish market, public bath and even a brothel. It was interesting to see how small people were based on the size of the buildings. The one thing that struck me was how well planned and organized the city was given the time it was developed. The ornate mosaic floors and vibrant frescoes are a testament to the artistry of the time. If you even have the opportunity to visit, do not hesitate to say yes!
This is probably one of my favorite photos. Not because it’s artistic or beautiful. But because of what it captures. This is a road in Pompeii. You can see the curb on each side, which are about 18-inches high. The curbs were so high to accommodate the flooding that was common from the rains. And at one time this hodgepodge of stones were actually perfectly fitting stones which created a very flat road. These were for chariots. And you’ll notice that there are grooves that were created by the wheels of the chariots. The deep groove at approximately the middle of the photo is much more prominent. But you’ll see the other wheel-made groove near the right edge. You can’t help but hear and feel the energy of those who used these roads over 1,900 years ago.
Strada Nuova in Venice, Italy is one of the main walkways (roads) parallel to the Grand Canal. We were on our way back from spending a few hours exploring the Jewish Ghetto. Strada Nuova is lined with shops and, despite how barren it looks, is pretty busy. It’s an easy way to get from the South part of the island to the North if you need to be on the West side of the Grand Canal. The building are gorgeous and the little foot bridges break up the tunnel feel of the tall buildings. In this photo BabyGirl sports her new scarf she picked out at one of the many boutiques that line Strada Nuova. There was just so much to see and not nearly enough time.
From North to South, Italy is home to so much history, much of it we read about in school. Before going I had an appreciation for what the Romans did to advance civilization (even though they plundered and pillaged a great number of my Jewish ancestors and confiscated their holy relics). Seeing it first hand makes me wish I had actually cared more in my youth. And having been there once, I know now that I will figure out a way to go again and share it with CycleGuy.
Have you ever been to Italy? What are some of your favorite places and memories?