Friday, February 19, 2010

Ostia Antica and Orvieto

Rome is amazing... but it is also crowded, dirty, and overwhelming. After a few days, we were ready to get out and do some more exploring. (It's true Becca- I confess I did sneak a picture of the Sistine Chapel- without the flash.)

First we headed to Ostia Antica, which was an ancient port city for Rome (on the Tiber river.) When the port moved, everyone up and left, making it like a ghost town with shops, restaurants, military barracks, theater, etc all left intact and basically undisturbed for 2000 years. We saw maybe 10 other tourists the entire day! It was a really nice change of pace.

Walking around the rubble. One of the best things about Ostia Antica was that very few places were off limits. We could walk around in almost all of structures in this whole ancient city.

Rob and Toby sitting in the theater.

Toby and I hanging out in a kitchen. As usual. ;) Although this was some sort of public space as well. We really had a relaxing day and felt a bit re-energized. (By this point, we had all come down with Toby's nasty cold and were suffering through it together.)

One of the trip highlights for Rob was talking in Italian with this rather old man on the train back from Ostia Antica. He remembered the American soldiers in Rome after WWII. He also invited us to his apartment for lunch- we thanked him for the offer, but declined.

Back at the hotel. This was our room the last 2 nights in Rome. The first few nights the hotel had bumped us to an apartment with 2 rooms. It was extremely basic (with no tub, etc) but the extra room was really nice for putting the kids to bed at night. (The first night in the apt., the closet door FELL OFF and beaned me in the back of the head!) All in one room, we didn't sleep nearly as well. (There was a twin bed on the opposite wall for Charlotte, and we brought the pack & play for Toby.) Yup, the tub & shower were right there.

The next morning we hopped a train to Orvieto. It's a hill town in Umbria. This is the Duomo, built in the 1300s. For a small town, it has a BIG church! But the church looks bigger than it is-- the front facade extends several feet on each side beyond the building, and the altar end of the church is more narrow than the entry- to make it appear longer.

One of the many gorgeous fews from Orvieto. We spent the day just walking, window shopping, and playing on the playground. We also popped in a chocolaterie (or two.)

The Etruscan Necropolis.
The Etruscans were before the Romans-- maybe 800 BC or so. Part of why we came to Orvieto was to tour the "underground city" that the Etruscans had dug into the rock foundation of the city. Sadly, the tunnels were closed the day we were there, because of it being Winter. I really wish they had posted that would be the case on their website that I checked beforehand! Oh well, it was a fun day anyway. :)

Rob attempting to climb the rock below the city.

We try to make sure Charlotte and Toby have fun on these trips too.

A view from the other side of this small city.

We really enjoyed seeing a different side of Italy, outside of Rome.

We rode back on the train that afternoon and watched a little bit of the Olympics at the hotel (on a station broadcasting in German oddly enough) and rested up for one last sightseeing outing before heading home.

1 comment:

Becca Anderson said...

I stayed in Orvieto when I went to Italy. Me and some other teachers rented a villa there for the entire week. I loved it! I'm so jealous.