Rome’s Colosseum Restoration Finally to Begin

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

It’s been two years since the decision was made to restore Rome’s Colosseum and it is finally scheduled to begin this month.  Funded by the CEO of Tod’s, a toney Italian leather goods manufacturer, the 25 million euro (about $32.5 million dollar) project will take between 2 and 3 years.  In return for his generosity, Diego Delle Valle, Tod’s CEO and president, will get advertising rights for 15 years.

Fragments of the 2000 year old have icon have been falling off for years and it is now thought that it is also leaning about 16 inches. There is a plan in place for the monument to be encircled by cast iron columns 15 – 50 feet from the structure in order to protect tourists from falling pieces.  As for the listing, Engineers suspect it might be caused by a break in the concrete slab on which the Colosseum was built.

 In addition to the restoration of the siding, new gates and the shoring up of parts of the underground areas and pathways, the whole structure will receive a thorough scrubbing to remove the blackened layer due to air pollution.

 The Colosseum will stay open during the work and at the end of the refurbishment, about 25% more of the arena will be open to the public.

There has been some controversy about the funding of the project.  It’s been over 70 years since anything has been done to the Colosseum and since that time, the structure has fallen on hard times:  pollution, traffic, more tourists and 2 subway lines (causing the structure to shake).  The Italian government has not been able to come up with the funds and, even though we may see more about Tod’s shoes, I think it’s worth it.  To me saving a 2000-year-old structure is worth the expenditure of 15 years.  The longer a deteriorating monument goes without some shoring up, the more expensive it will be.

What do you think?  Weigh in and let everyone know what you think.

Food and Wine

Food and wine is HUGE in Italy and France. Each region has both food and wine that has developed over time based on location, types of soil and weather conditions.

For instance, Puglia is known for its pasta which is made from the hardest of wheats called durham (latin for hard) wheat is high in protein and low in gluten.  Low levels of gluten in the wheat make it unsuitable for bread, which needs high gluten content in order to rise.  The most popular pasta shape in Puglia is or orecchiette which means little ears.  Orecchiette, little ears, pasta, PugliaThey are still made by hand in many places.





Different shapes of pasta are supposed to be better for some types of sauces than others. Here is a chart of some pasta shapes.

Small Group Travel

We offer small group travel to unique and slightly off the beaten path destinations.  These are cultural tours with the purpose of getting to know the history, customs, foods and people.  Trips are usually 12 to 14 people but often can be as few as 6.

Small group travel offers advantages to independent and large group travelers alike.

Benefits of Small Group Travel

  • Like minded people – traveling alone can get lonely and in a small group you get to meet people who share a similar passion for travel.
  • Time saver and peace of mind – everything is done for you…itinerary, transportation, accommodations, schedule and guides when needed. Costs are known upfront.  You can relax and enjoy yourself.
  •  It’s personal – you are an individual, not part of a herd.
  • It’s flexible – if something comes up, it’s easy to be spontaneous and take advantage of some new discovery at a moment’s notice.
  • There’s more discovery – by getting off the beaten path with close-up exposure to local life, local restaurants and small boutique hotels.  Local tour guides give unique slices of local life allowing for a whole new perspective.

Aeolian Island Add On

Aeolian Islands, Sicily, ItalySeptember 2013

With the small group of 4-6 people, you will take a van and cross the Straits of Messina  and drive to Milazzo where you will board a hydrofoil which will whisk you to the largest island of the chain, Lipari.  Once in Lipari, we will check into our beautiful 4 star hotel which is near the port and the quaint village of Lipari with lots of delicious restaurants and great shopping.  While there you can sit on the terrace of the hotel and breakfast outdoors, take a bus or walk to the norman castle up the hill, wander the village streets, take a boat ride or visit the nearby beach for a swim in the warm waters of the sea.  Daily options are to take a ferry to one or more of the other islands nearby for lunch or early dinner.  On the 19th you will sadly bid goodbye to the relaxing Aeolian Islands and return to the island of Sicily by hydrofoil.  You will be driven to the Catania Airport where you will board a flight to Rome.

If you would like to be added to the list for this mini trip.  Please fill out and submit the form below.