I used to joke that I should start a tumblr with “places my son’s junk has been.” Not with actual pictures of junk. That would be all kinds of messed up. But just the locations. Stateside, I had a policy that if your (chain, family-oriented) restaurant did not have a changing table, we’d do a change in the restaurant. On a bench if possible. Always on a changing pad. I’m looking at you Bojangles and Waffle House. But Henry got to enjoy plenty of other al fresco changing venues. Parks, rest areas, the National Mall.
I guess my tumblr would now be “places my sons’ junk has been.” The trend is definitely continuing in Rome. We’ve been hearing from people, guidebooks, the internets, etc. that Rome is not the most kid-friendly. This doesn’t just mean a lack of sights for kids. I’ve mentioned before that the double stroller is a challenge. Whenever we get around to attempting public transit, that will be a challenge. And I haven’t been able to find a restroom for me most places, much less a changing table. (Just realized we will have to be WAY more strategic whenever Operation Potty Train commences. Although I did see a kid drop trou at the Villa Borghese playground. #OPTIONS.)
So this week’s “places my sons’ junk has been” is brought to you by Piazza della Repubblica. Last weekend we went on another epic walkabout around the city. Unlike last time, we ditched the double stroller at home. I loaded Mac into the Lillebaby. Thankfully, James is still able to wrangle Henry in the Deuter hiking pack. And Henry did an impressive amount of walking. Which would you choose: carrying a 16 lb child all the time or a 30 lb child half the time? I’m stuck with the smaller one because I couldn’t even wear Henry in the Deuter 10 lbs ago.
It was glorious! We could walk anywhere!! Up church steps, in between cars, around tourists! The city was our oyster; we were limited only by our aching backs. The weather was also gorgeous. I think around 70 degrees when we set out and creeping up during the day.
Although I was eager to get to proper sightseeing, I was also eager to have my first cappuccino in Italy. Only took three weeks. We stopped at a Bar, where I made James order. I still do a double take on the signs sometimes, but Bars are the casual places with pastries and sandwiches that are open early. Loved the cappuccino. Henry loved the pastries even more.
Our first stop was Santa Maria della Vittoria Church. We went for Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa, which was on my radar from Angels and Demons (on sale for kindle!)–classy, I know–but were really impressed with the church itself. [Angels and Demons is now a movie? From 2009?? How did I miss this? This was pre-kids. I have no excuse.] It was on the smaller side, but every inch was covered with marble, paintings, mosaics, and other precious objects. I’d love to go back for mass; you just know it would be an intimate affair. Hopefully without Nic Cage-haired Tom Hanks crashing in to catch a maniac.
Bernini’s statue was very impressive. The literature said he made the marble look like wax, which really is a good description. So fluid. So much movement. I think I like Bernini even more than Michelangelo. TV Show Idea: Italian Sculptor Wars. No?
The Church of Santa Susanna is across the street. There has been construction so we ogled the outside but didn’t go in. This is home of the American Catholic Church in Rome so I’m sure we’ll be back. Santa Susanna’s exterior boasts “a highly influential early Baroque design” and some pretty amazing FAQs on its website.
1. What is the Pope’s email address?
Everyone wants to talk directly to the pope. Unfortunately the population of the world is now over 6 billion people and the Holy Father is not capable of speaking to each person privately.Though Pope Benedict had an email address, so far Pope Francis has not listed his.
We headed down to Piazza della Repubblica, close to Termini train station.
But before the titular diaper change, we went to the Baths of Diocletian. The baths were built between 298 and 306. They have many other uses now–Michelangelo designed a church inside–but you can still see the exterior and infrastructure. At the tallest point, they are seven stories high.
We got to enjoy a few minutes of an organ concert inside the church. Henry was enthralled.
After the diaper change, we picked up takeout pizza from Alice (Ah-lee-che), a delicious pizza chain here. We enjoyed it in the Villa Borghese Park to the sound of a dude playing the mandolin.
Both kids crashed before we could make it back for official nap time, but it was a pretty nice day.
James put together this map ex post facto of our route. I think it was only around three miles, but it felt longer. I blame the toddler stop and go. It isn’t just “mas running,” but you have to frequently reline up at the starting line.