The Nagasawa family trip to Italy and France:  June 12 - 30, 2008




June 12    Fly to Rome June 21 Fly to Marseilles
June 13 Arrive in Rome June 22 Drive to Les Barcares
June 14 Rome June 23 Sigean Animal Reserve
June 15 Assisi, drive to Venice June 24 Priory of Serrabona
June 16 Venice June 25 Collioure
June 17 Drive to Florence June 26 Relax in Claira
June 18 Florence, drive to Siena & Orvieto June 27 Drive to Barcelona
June 19 Orvieto, drive to Rome June 28 Relax in Claira
June 20 Rome June 29 Drive to Marseilles
    June 30 Fly back to Boston

(the links are the days in purple; click on them to see pictures)


June 20, 2008:


We came back to Rome yesterday, and today we'll see the Catacombs of St. Callixtus on the famous Appian Way.  Notice how John and Zoe are grumpy?  They were getting tired of the sightseeing in Italy.  No amount of gelato could change their minds now.



The Catacombs sealed my personal preference for Antiquity over the Renaissance.  Early Christians who were wealthy dug catacombs below their estates for use by other Christians for worship meeting spaces (a precious commodity back then too) and burial of their dead (a symbol of hope in bodily resurrection) during the first centuries when persecution would frequently erupt.  This is one such estate.  The early Christians dug 20 kilometers of catacombs in this site alone.  They buried 500,000 people (100,000 of whom were infants - a high infant mortality rate).  You can tell from the length of the burial shelves that people were about 5'4" back then.  The oldest person buried in St. Callixtus was 40 years old. 


This picture below, compliments of the Vatican, is of a room where early bishops of Rome were buried. 


There were also Christian graffiti art scenes:  Christ the good shepherd.


Jesus and the Last Supper.


Jonah being thrown overboard.  Scholars believe the story of Jonah reflected the Christian hope in resurrection (Jonah being spit out of the fish).  I also suspect that the early Christians liked Jonah because they wanted to come out of the catacombs to preach to the great city.


After the Catacombs, we played in the pool at our campgrounds.  This pool was amazing. 


Then in the cooler afternoon, we drove to Ostia Antica.  This Roman city once guarded the mouth of the Tiber River, but is now a vast city of ruins.  Here's an aerial shot provided by the website  On the website, check out the computer simulation of a walk through Ostia Antica in its heydey!


The archway to what was once someone's home.  We felt a funny sensation of trespassing.


Houses like this stretched on for a long way...


An old Roman bath?


An ancient tavern?   Notice the food pictured in the painted rock:  a plate of food, a drink, and something like fruit?


Going down the steps of the government building.  Imagine the pillars in good shape, encircling the courtyard.  The trees remind me of the White Tree in the courtyard of Minas Tirith.  :)


An old urn


Zoe was pooped and bored, so she cut out of Ostia Antica early with Ming.  John and I walked around some more, and afterwards, when we met up to wait for dinner, we read The Hobbit.  This was a great read for our kids, and we loved the story.


This was great salmon.  The kids also took a liking to mussels!  


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