When we stepped out of the car along a roadside overlooking the Roman Forum and ruins, I could hardly believe my eyes. I’d seen pictures of these places in history books, and watched movies like Gladiator that showed these scenes, but nothing quite compared to the standing there and seeing it with my own eyes. I was in awe. I’m still in awe as I look at some of these pictures we snapped that day.

 

 

I stood there quietly for several minutes overlooking for the site and then began to recognize the enormity of the Forum as I noticed tiny people walking on the dirt streets below. It was truly amazing.

 

 

The Roman Forum, which for centuries was the center of Roman public life, is one of the most visited sites in the world today, attracting more than 4.5 million people annually. In a time before Christ, this was a place for processions and elections, a venue for public speeches, and the site where criminal trials were held.

 

The Forum was also the center for most commercial affairs. Statues and monuments commemorate the city’s great men and it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history.  What a privilege it was to stand there and admire such a site. The next day, we visited the Colosseum in the city center of Rome.

 

A view from inside the Colosseum.

The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering ever. Construction began on the amazing site in 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD. It is estimated it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators.

I’m amazed to think that it took fewer than 10 years to build this huge structure of travertine on the outside and tufa and brick in the interior. The main pedestals were built of marble blocks.

 

 

The Colosseum was used for staging various events, including gladiator fights, wild animal displays, theatrical entertainment, executions, religious ceremonies, mock sea battles, and re-playing famous Roman victories. We paid 12 Euro to visit the inside of the Colosseum and see this historic place where Christians and criminals were executed as midday entertainment. It’s daunting to think that more than 700,000 people died over the years in this bloody arena in the name of entertainment.

[well]This blog post is part of a series about the “20 Things We’ll Remember Most About Our Summer Vacation.” Up next: The Joy of Sidewalk Cafes. [/well]

 

  • Have you always wanted to visit @thepioneerwoman lodge in Oklahoma? We’ve got a new blog post today with 12 tips to make your visit spectacular. Our website link is in our bio. And if the lodge is not open for tours when you can come, no worries! There are plenty of great things to see and do when you @visit_the_osage and @pwmercantile I’m Pawhuska. #pawhuska #pioneerwoman #drummondlodge #ranch #postcardjar #reedrummond
  • This is our first spring in Osage County, Oklahoma, and we are in awe of these trees!! It is a red bud and is the state tree of Oklahoma. They are everywhere around here and we love spotting the bright pinkish purple blooms among the green trees. So much beauty in nature. #redbud @visit_the_osage  @travelok
  • Sitting in our hotel room in Venice, we could look out across the busy canal toward St. Mark's cathedral. The fact that it's an island city makes it different from any other city in the world. Water taxis zoomed around, larger vaporettos chugged past, as well. Occaisionally, a cruise ship would glide past our window. Tourists from all over the world came to take in this spectacle, yet to the locals, who drive boats down tight canals with ease, this is what normal life looks like. The world is indeed a large, interesting place. Have you been to Venice? ⁣
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  • Seeing this photo takes us back to the the cooking class we took last summer on the island of Mykonos in Greece. We went to a woman's home, learned about Greek culture and history, and then prepared a meal using fresh ingredients from the garden in her back yard. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most delicious meals we'd ever had. But perhaps even better are the memories of the warm welcome we received as we entered her home and the glimpse into the lives of real people in another part of the world. ⁣
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  • Trust us on this: there is nothing that relaxes more than kicking back in a hammock in the shade on a beach in the Caribbean. Except maybe leaving that relaxing spot and getting back on a cruise ship for cocktails and a gourmet dinner. What do you do to relax on vacation? ⁣
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  • Near Valdobbiadene, in the heart of Italy's Prosecco region, is a bar with no bartender. You simply go inside, take the wine or beer you want from the fridge, and leave your money to pay for it in a box. We weren't sure who the owner of this bar is, or even who keeps it stocked. What we do know from the cards and notes they've left is that people from all over the world have come here and respected the honor system. It's amazing how honest folks will be if you just show a little trust. ⁣
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  • Ahhh...the Piazza del Campo in Siena! We absolutely loved our time here, sitting at a sidewalk cafe, sipping delicious Chianti Clasico wine and savoring the some of the best lasagna and pasta carbonara we'd ever had. While there, we noticed a number of people drinking some kind of orange colored drink. Our waiter explained it was a spritz of some sort. We asked if it were good. She shook her head and said that only the Americans seemed to like it. ⁣
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  • This barn at at @Calamus_Outfitters in @visitnebraska serves as a reminder that this really is a working ranch. The Switzer family has poured their hearts and souls into the land. We think it's pretty neat that they're willing to share this piece of the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills with visitors. Have you been to the Nebraska Sandhills? ⁣
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Making the most of midlife.