remulus gets overlooked


I’ll try to post every weekday we’re here in Europe, but I hope you don’t mind that they’ll mostly be pictures… and since I stopped taking pictures of “famous buildings without people” when I was about ten, they’ll mostly be of the Lulubeans and the Tesseract.

We got here on Thursday or Friday – one’s mind gets scrambled when flying internationally in coach – and we’ll be in Europe for two weeks, taking advantage of Lucy’s crazy-long pre-school spring break and the natural lull of Hollywood goings-on for March and April.


Amelia from the south

We’ve been staying at our friend David’s place in Amelia in Umbria, Italy – a walled city founded way before the Romans, even before the Etruscans, perhaps even 800 or 900 years B.C., and when you get here, you believe it.


the duomo at night


flickering lamplight

The streets – if you can call them that – are so narrow that anything bigger than, say, a Prius will get you permanently lodged between two ancient dwellings. There are other walled cities in Umbria, even those with the duomo on top, but nothing comes close to the ghosts you can feel on these precipices.


out the front door

The walls are made from limestone arranged in long-forgotten polygonal masonry – so strong that they stayed intact for 2500 years, until a section collapsed a few years ago. When we were here in 2008, the “broken wall” became one of then-2-year-old Lucy’s first real memories.


on the playground just outside the wall

Rome is a 38-minute train ride away, so we’ve gone two days in a row. Lucy is an amazing traveler, the kind of kid that will be planning everyone’s road trips and vacations as soon as we let her – she loves the buildings, the public squares, the food, and just fartin’ around.


on the Piazza Navona


at the Trevi fountain, one of her wishes was for a lollypop, obviously

Not to be an elitist liberal who hates your freedoms, but around every corner in urban America is a McDonald’s, a Starbucks and a dreary office complex built in 1997. But here, every alley, every window, every random corner can look like this:


To make things even better, Lindsay, Dana & Jack happened to be in Italy (Dana is doing a piece for Saveur in Sicily) and it’s not just awesome for us parents to be traveling together again, but Lucy thinks Jack is the absolute best.


I introduced them to the mystery, the wonder, of the Bic 4-color pen

We went by an outdoor vendor who was selling futbol shirts, and they both picked out local teams who, of course, happened to wear Carolina blue:


back on the Piazza Navona

Even falling off the stone elephant base behind the Pantheon…


… is quickly forgotten when you’re having this much fun.


0 thoughts on “remulus gets overlooked

  1. Ian

    It’s a Canon Powershot G10, the best present ever. Not a ton larger than a pocket point’n’shoot, but powerful (shoots RAW images, which are fun to manipulate).

  2. Claverack Weekender

    I wish we would replace more of our banks and Starbucks with religious icons as well! Yes we can!

  3. jersey

    Wow – brilliant pictures! I swear I can see the moon and clouds moving in that “the duomo at night” photo.

  4. kazoo

    so beautiful! love the photos and the sentiments…
    ian, i know your tummy isn’t much for coffee these days, and i can’t for the life of me remember if we’ve ever already talked about this BUT, thanks to amy, my cappuccino movie friend, i’m addicted to the mysteries of the coffee from sant’ eustacchio.
    if you’re back in rome again, which it sounds like you will be, you MUST grab a coffee there. it’s by the pantheon, tucked away, but you can smell it if you try. or ask anyone. people argue about whether tazza d’oro is better, but i’d say those people have no taste buds. the roasters at sant’ eustacchio have been there forever, and people wonder if there’s some magic going on like throwing in the odd cacao bean in the roast…
    report back, when you have a chance. and safe travels!

  5. kjf

    just got some sad news about the health of a family member today and was feeling weepy when i saw these photos. the one of lucy on pointe with her little pink skirt was a nice antidote. that child is really magical. thanks for helping me smile today. enjoy your trip.
    by the way you have some great friends! i think all i was ever offered in the way of vacation home usage was a time share on myrtle beach.

  6. jif

    dear ian and loyal xtcian readers, i am helping my mom and stepdad plan a trip to rome, tuscany and venice in the fall and I would LOVE your thoughts/tips on where to stay, eat, go in Rome and Umbria/Tuscany. so ian, please take notes and if anyone else has MUST eat, see stay recs, i would looooove to hear them! thanks and keep the gorgeous photos coming ian!

  7. ChrisM

    You liberal elitists get to have all the fun.
    Meanwhile real Americans are in line at Walmart waitin’ to get their ‘Going Rogue’ autographed.
    Freedom costs a buck 09…not 2 euros.

  8. Rebecca

    I needed to see these photos today, as I pack for my own trip to Italy on Friday. I’m SUPER nervous about leaving my 3 kids with their Grandparents – I know they’ll be fine, but I will never forgive myself if something happens to them while I’m away. Mommy guilt is a powerful thing.
    Regarding cameras, I cannot decide whether to take my Canon digital Rebel with the big lens, or my little Sony Cyber-shot. Obviously, the Canon takes superior photos, but will it be a pain to carry around for 9 days? Now I’m leaning towards the big camera, but I’m concerned it will bother me. Also, any reason to take the video camera? I think not; nobody will want to look at my photos, much less video.
    My Mom is concerned I will look too casual – are jeans a problem? She told me I needed to take some nice pants, and honestly, I don’t own her version of nice pants. So she’ll be the Talbots fashion plate, and I’ll be the woman in jeans and a sweater. That’s fine, right?
    Will you guys be in Rome for Easter? We’re headed straight to Florence via train on Saturday, and will be back in Rome on the 6th.
    Thanks for the photos and I look forward to reading the updates this week!

  9. Ian

    Kaz – caffè Sant’Eustachio was our first destination in 2008, and we went both Saturday and Sunday. I braved the stomach ills and had the best coffee in my life, I think.
    Jif- we’ll give you the rundown when we see you next weekend!
    Rebecca – Tessa brought both jeans and a couple of nice skirts, but neither of us are going crazy formal (and I have occasionally schlubbed it utterly). Honestly, anything more than “vaguely nice” and you’ll start looking silly. We’ll be gone to France by the time you get here, but you’ll have a TERRIFIC time.

  10. Anne

    You took those with a G10? That’s what I have, too, and I don’t seem to get the rich colors that you do. Hmph. Maybe I should read the manual? (radical idea, I know) Maybe I should go to Italy? Yeah, that’s it!
    Beautiful pics. The “ballerina” one of Lucy in the plaza is a prize winner. Print and frame it.

  11. kate

    Rebecca – take ’em both!
    I’ve got a Canon SD550 and a Canon Rebel T1I. I take them both with me on vacations, but I’ve found in the last few months that I almost exclusively use the “big” camera. :) The difference in photo quality is worth any hassle of lugging it around, in my opinion.

  12. Caitlin

    We had one of the best vacations of our lives in Umbria in a little hilltop walled village called Panicale. Seeing your photos of Amelia makes me long to go back.


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