This post follows us as we leave Saint Paul De Vence in the south of France and on to Rome where we spent 8 days exploring almost every inch of this ancient city. Rome’s history spans more than two and a half thousand years. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. At the height of the Roman Empire, a quarter of the world’s population lived under Roman law. This made the empire one of the most culturally diverse societies ever known.
The reach of the Roman empire at it's height between 96 and 180 AD
Our first foray into the city found us walking around Saint Peter’s Square just outside of the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica. Tradition and strong historical evidence hold that St Peter's tomb is directly below the high altar of the Basilica. Construction of the present Basilica, replacing the old St Peter's Basilica of the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626. St. Peter's is the most renowned work of renaissance architecture and remains one of the two largest churches in the world!
Saint Peter's Basilica.
The columns around Saint Peter's Square.
The dome from within.
Inside the church.
Getting inside the Vatican Museum was obviously a must do, but extremely tiring, boring for the kids and way too crowded. We felt a little rushed through by the guide and found it hard to understand his presentations about the pieces that we were viewing. We wish we could have had a longer time here to explore more in our own time. The museum is immense, the pieces on show here have been collected by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of renaissance art in the world. There are 54 galleries to explore, all crammed to the rafters with the showpiece Sistine Chapel being the last stop.
This post picks up where we ended the last, still in England, exploring historical places with our Italy trip looming large!
Ightham Mote Kent England
Ightham Mote (pronounced "item moat") is a medieval moated manor house, the house is a Grade I listed building, and parts of it are a scheduled ancient monument. It has been described as "The most complete small medieval manor house in the country". It's an unbelievable house and we were lucky enough to meet up with our friends the Morleys from Singapore with their family and kids too! It was fantastic to see them and catch up. The kids had a great time finding all the hidden secrets of the house and following an interactive puzzle throughout the tour.
On show at the house was a Victoria Cross which had been won during battle at Ypres in world war 1 by one of the past inhabitants , a real treat to see and learn about! The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean war. Since then, the medal has been awarded only 1,357 times to 1,354 individual recipients. Only 14 medals, ten to members of the British Army, and four to the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War!
Sutton Hoo Suffolk England
In 1939, just days before the outbreak of the second world war, archeologist Basil Brown discovered an untouched ship burial ground in Woodbridge Suffolk. The 27 meter ship was the final resting place for an Anglo Saxon King, who was buried with the ship and many, many treasures! The ship-burial, probably dating from the early 7th century and excavated in 1939, is one of the most magnificent archaeological finds ever discovered in England.
The exhibition hall is great, there is lots to look at and learn about, obviously all of the 'real treasures' are elsewhere in the top museums, but they have some great stuff, the staff are brilliant with their knowledge and happy to share, and as always there is lots to do for the kids to help get them into the spirit of things!
Ossuccio Lake Como Italia!
What an amazing place!
All of us will at some stage enter our experiences and favourite stories.