Can Rome’s Ancient World Be Saved? My Video with BBC Travel

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In July, I filmed my first video for BBC Travel: It’s about how Rome’s ruins are at risk — and what’s being done (or not) to save them. The video is part of what we hope will be a series called Dissolving History, about cultural heritage under threat around the world. You can watch Dissolving History: Rome here.

Cultural heritage (a decidedly unexciting term for what I think is one of the most exciting things around — the one way we can really get up close and personal with our own history!) is a topic close to my heart. I first covered how Italy’s heritage was underfunded five years ago. Since then, I’ve written about UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage for National Geographic Traveler and Italy’s stolen works of art for the BBC.

But even when I’m not writing about cultural heritage directly, I’m writing about it somehow. It’s rare that I write a travel story — or take a trip at all — without somehow touching on the destination’s monuments and museums, its artifacts and archaeology. And I have a feeling it’s the same for most of you.

So it’s an important topic. And a surprisingly fun one. Check out the video for more.

And here are some behind-the-scenes shots, if you’d like to see…

Biblioteca Casatense, Dissolving Heritage Rome

I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Italy’s Minister of Cultural Heritage Dario Franceschini. Here, I’m debriefing with his aides after the interview.

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An Exhibit of Stolen (and Recovered) Art, for the BBC

Stolen art on display in Rome
Fresco from a Pompeii villa that was looted from Italy, and then returned—and now on display at Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo.

Art looting is a serious problem in Italy. (And elsewhere). Don’t believe me? If you’re in Rome before November 5, check out the Capolavori dell’archeologia exhibit at Castel Sant’Angelo, which gives just a taste of the extent of the problem, thanks to stunning, priceless pieces that were stolen from Italy… and later recovered.

And if you can’t make it there—or want to know what to expect—make sure you check out my story on the exhibit for the BBC.

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Where to Catch the Pope This Easter Weekend

Way of the Cross, a chance to see the pope this Easter
Here in Rome, all eyes have been on Pope Francis I since his March election. Curious about the new guy in charge of the Vatican? This weekend, there are plenty of chances to catch a glimpse of him—from the Good Friday Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum to the papal mass at St. Peter's Square on Sunday. For more (and on more events going on this Easter in Rome), check out my latest piece for BBC Travel.

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Rome’s Carnival of Horses, for BBC Travel

Roman Carnival
Rome’s Carnival includes lots of events like this one. (Photo: Carnevale Romano) 

The 2013 edition of Rome’s Carnival (or “Carnevale”, if you’re trying to be all Italian about it) kicks off tomorrow, Feb. 2. While it’s easy to mistake for an equestrian event, what with all the horse shows and horse parades and horse, well, everything else, you don’t have to be a horse lover to want to take part in the fun.

In fact, until Feb. 12th, Rome’s going to be hopping with all kinds of family-friendly (and free!) entertainments. Parades? Check. Fireworks? Check. Street performers, concerts, and shows by the Commedia d’Arte? Check, check and check.

Find out more—and exactly what not to miss over the next 11 days—piece for the BBC as their Rome travel blogger, “Rome’s Carnival of Horses,”on what not to miss in Rome’s 2013 Carnival.

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