Whilst some of the best moments in my life have been experienced since becoming a mother, my best holiday memory is years before Little H was even a thought or a plan. One day I genuinely hope that a family holiday will claim the Top Memory Spot, but we’ve had mixed success with holidays to date. So for now, my favourite holiday memory is from when Sam and I went to Rome in 2011. Until that point I had never made it to Italy despite Rome being one of the few places I was desperate to see with my own eyes. The Roman Civilisation is one of two that has fascinated me since my childhood (the other is the Egyptians…if you’re interested!) and expectations when we boarded that plane were incredibly high.
When I think back on our three-day visit to Italy’s capital there is one very specific moment which comes to mind. The first morning we woke in the city, there was one single site I insisted we see first: the Colosseum. We set off on foot from our hotel and our route took us through a small park. As I climbed a small hill, it suddenly appeared on the horizon. No picture or film I’d seen prepared me for seeing that immense building reveal itself to me. It was so impressive and dominating. That single moment quite genuinely took me back in time.
Rather than just wander round on our own or use an audio guide, we paid for a tour. We were shown round by an archeologist, native to Rome and with a long-time obsession with the Colosseum. We learnt so many fascinating things about the building, how it was used and what has happened to it over the years. Even standing there it was impossible to imagine what it was like packed to the rafters with people and animals. In my head I was playing through scenes from Gladiator but the guide was onto me, and others, and pointed out where the film was and wasn’t accurate to history. One reality check she have us was that there is no proof that the ‘Thumbs up / Thumbs down’ thing they do in the film was real Roman behaviour.
Whilst I was saddened to ultimately leave the Colosseum, Rome was absolutely packed with history; so packed in fact that it was very easy to become blasé about it! We tried our best not to be though and during the 3 days we were there we saw so many things: The Trevi Fountain (in the day and at night), St Peter’s Basilica, Piazza Navona, Terme di Caracalla (the ruins of a huge Roman baths on the edge of the city) and the Pantheon. A truly fascinating place! One day I do hope to go back and take Little H. When she’s a bit older and at school, I think it will be a wonderful to bring history to life for her. I also read a great post from Wandermust Family praising the city for being so accommodating of children. So it would really be rude not to go again!
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