It has been a lovely, if hot, few days in Rome since my last post. Tony has been doing some work with a colleague, which has meant a bit less blogging time for me (particularly as Toby has been fairly resistant to the whole concept of the siesta).
But today it seems everyone else is asleep, and I have the air conditioner and some time to myself.
So what have we been up to?
We’ve visited old buildings:
I found the Colosseum slightly jarring. It’s estimated that at least one miliion people died there over its active life. And it was absolutely covered with tourists, taking selfies. I can’t think of any other massacre sites that are now massive tourist attractions.
It was interesting, though. We paid for one of the tours (I actually had to follow a spruiker to get their attention – worst spruiker ever!) and learnt quite a bit. Like the marble slabs around the perimeter of the arena:
They are engraved with the names of the people who sponsored the events. It’s stadium advertising, just 2000 years old! (The arches and brickwork you can see were all under the arena – they were covered with a wooden floor, which was then covered with a thick layer of sand: to soak up the blood.)
We’ve eaten gelati.
We’ve also grown in size: one more family member added to the traveling circus!
For the record, Kate’s gelato choice today was stracciatella:
I’ve still been revelling in the amazing produce available here. We’ve been eating our own body weight in buffalo milk mozzarella and proscuitto.
Last night we had Tony’s colleague and his wife over for dinner. I cooked as best I could in the (rather oddly equipped) kitchen. As well as various antipasti bought from the excellent delis nearby, I bought a beautiful bunch of zucchini flowers from the open air markets.
I stuffed them with a mix of buffalo ricotta (we have a buffalo milk shop a 3 minute walk down the road. It is awesomely dangerous), sage and lemon zest.
I also bought some tonnarelli, which is a fresh pasta made by rolling out sheets and then pressing them through a wire frame to cut them into strands. It’s a regional speciality which we had tried at lunch, and loved. I checked out the fresh pasta section at the local supermarket and sure enough, there it was! So I bought some fennel, and some clams, and some scampi and made a seafood sauce to have with it.
This morning we headed over to the Vatican museum. We didn’t have time (or energy – particularly with Toby on a hot and muggy day) to see everything that was on offer. We did look at the Egyptian collection, which was astounding. I have never seen heiroglyphs up so close (no glass case!) – and they are so uniform and beautifully carved. There are also several sarcophogai, including one with a mummy still in it. Toby saw it before we quite realised. His eyes went very wide, and I suspect we will have some questions at bedtime tonight.
We then walked through a series of passages with ridiculously beautiful ceilings.
We couldn’t take a photo of the most famous ceiling though – no photography is allowed within the Sistene Chapel. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is one we prepared earlier.
It’s been a wonderful week in Rome – tomorrow we leave, heading South again.