The Roman Forum and the Vatican

We walked over 20 kilometres today. This is a family record, for any trip. The girls were skipping along the Tiber, on the way home, apparently unaffected. Kate and I felt like cold beer and a deep need to sit down for a week. We both feel a little hobbled. Lucy and Sarah are on the cusp of earning their ‘good travellers’ rewards – a trip to Legoland and Hong Kong Disneyland – as they have been absolutely excellent.

We visited the Roman Forum today and also ascended the Palantine Hill, the location of the cave, where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that suckled them. Once again, being at the site gives one a different perspective on familiar history in a range of ways. For example, I now understand how close the Colosseum and Circus Maximus were to the heart of government. Augustus, from his residence above the Forum, could actually watch the chariots race. You should note that the Circus Maximus is not very impressive, looking more like a disused skate park than a historic site of import. You should also note that we could not prise the audio guide from Sarah’s hands.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

Lucy and Sarah saw that archaeologists use more than just trowels to do their work. We saw a variety of mechanical diggers excavating at the site and this woman (below) using a theodolite.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

After lunch, we walked to the Vatican Museum and Saint Peter’s Square. I decided not to take my camera and, of course, regretted this instantly. No photos are permitted in the Sistine Chapel but elsewhere, photography is allowed.

Kate really enjoyed the afternoon. I struggled, rightly or wrongly, with some of my deeply held beliefs. Lucy said she loves all museums. Sarah made us all laugh. We all enjoyed the Gallery of Maps. I also learnt that Benito Mussolini signed the papers that made Vatican City the world’s smallest state, in 1929. Interesting huh.

It was a good day in the world.

God2-Sistine Chapel

St Peter's Square, Vatican City - April 2007