Enjoying gelato outside our favorite gelateria, Il Gelato.

Because all roads lead to Rome, we’ve been fortunate to share meals with numerous colleagues and relatives who are visiting Rome, but whom we rarely see back home. This weekend was a first, though: friends from Madison came to stay with us! Connie, Greg, Elena, and Max live around the corner from us in Madison, and Elena and Nell spend a lot of their “leisure” time together. Their family arrived in Rome last Saturday and spent four nights with us.

Skipping to the Pantheon.

We had fun visiting some of the famous sights together. We’d be saving them for cooler weather and for when the tourist deluge slowed down. The tourists were still everywhere, but the weather was perfect! The Pantheon is probably my favorite of the ancient buildings in Rome; it’s the oldest building in the world that is still intact and is now used as a church. We were awed thinking about how the Romans managed to design and engineer a perfect dome with a circular opening in the absence of any modern technical tools.

The angel atop Castel Saint'Angelo (Photo credit, Eli Pollak)

We also visited a site that we’d not been to before: Castel Saint’Angelo. It’s an ancient castle, about a 15 minute walk from our apartment, that has served many functions over the centuries; there is a ‘secret’ passageway between the castle and the Vatican so that the pope had a well-fortified place to hole up in if attacked. The kids loved running over the ramparts, and the view from the top terrace was spectacular.

Enjoying our entertaining waiter at lunch!

And no visit to Roma would be complete without some great meals. The highlight was a Sunday lunch at a local restaurant, Da Cesere, where we had one of those wonderful waiters who knows how to show kids a good time. We were there for 2 hours, and I don’t think a single kid got bored. Of course, being brought back to the kitchen to sample biscotti always helps!

We were all sad to see Connie, Greg, Elena, and Max go!

– Jenny