You know how teenagers are a different species from the rest of humanity. Well, our teen boys are no exception, and recently Tom and I have detected some underlying dissenting opinions to our unshakable belief that traveling is uniquely exciting. On more than one occasion when traveling, in fact, we've noticed that distinctive teenage slight-rolling-of-the-eye attitude, or heard that undertone of outrage in the question: "NOT another church!?" And when in Rome, of course, there are one or two churches to be seen.
Tom and I were adamant that this trip be enjoyable for everyone, above and beyond cultural enrichment, and had agreed that if teenager-church-block set in, we'd take the boys to see another type of site, one that has less to do with culture and more with tennis: the Foro Italico. Because, when in Rome, there's something for all species of humanity, teenagers included. Except that, as is often the case with children, they surprised us.
The boys loved Rome. They didn't just love Rome, they loved touring it. We'd rented a small apartment in the heart of the city (through Homelidays, which is an excellent website for holiday rentals in Europe), within walking distance of all the main sites. From there, we set out each day into the richness of Roman art, architecture, and history -- and the boys' years of studying the Romans in school finally took shape and came to life before their eyes. They were so excited by discovering that all those historical figures, those forums, columns, palaces and temples had a context in reality, that weren't satisfied with our slow, sick-six-year-old-pace of tourism. Every night, when little sis went to sleep, they headed out with their father, to march all over the city to see new things. Tom was only too glad to share his own enthusiasm, love and knowledge of Rome with his sons.
One of their biggest regrets about this trip? That they'd missed the inside of St Peter's Basilica (the Church among churches!), which was already closed the evening we walked around Vatican City. But no worries, they said: we'll see it when we come back to Rome.